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East Midlands Trains and Derbyshire County Council celebrated the success of newly-opened Ilkeston station along with the local community and rail industry partners yesterday (Thursday 13 July).
To mark 30,000 passenger journeys made to or from Ilkeston station since services started just over three months ago, there was an afternoon of commemorative events and celebrations.
After speeches by the main entrance to platform one, the school poster competititon ceremony took place and the winning entries were unveiled on the railway footbridge. Stallholders then opened up for the afternoon from East Midlands Trains, Derbyshire County Council, Network Rail, Northern Rail, Erewash Borough Council, Liberty Leisure, British Transport Police, Canal & River Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Railway Children. Donations from Ilkeston Tesco and Amberol Ltd helped the brand new station adopters, Chaucer Primary School, get their spades stuck in and plant shrubs in the garden and two large planters for all to see.
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re delighted that so many people from the local community came out yesterday and we were able to properly celebrate the school poster competition winners. It was a really special day and we will remember it for many years to come."
Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure said: “Passenger figures for the station in the first three months were better than expected based on experiences from station openings elsewhere. This shows we were right to push for a station in the town – which has at last lost its cache “the largest town in Britain on a passenger railway line without a station."
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for the London North Eastern and East Midlands Route at Network Rail, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people are choosing to use Ilkeston station to travel. Not only does the station offer more choice to passengers, it improves transport links and connectivity throughout the whole region, which will bring economic growth to the area."
Paul Barnfield, Regional Director, of Northern Rail, said: “It’s fantastic to have been able to bring rail services back to Ilkeston and the surrounding area. We are delighted to have been a part of this process – alongside colleagues from East Midlands Trains and Network Rail."
Maggie Throup MP, Member of Parliament for Erewash, said: “The first train to arrive at Ilkeston Railway Station for over 50 years back in April was a truly historic moment in the life of our town and already we are beginning to reap the benefits. I am delighted that so many local residents are embracing rail travel and believe that this is just the start of a wider movement to improve the town. One thing is for certain, Ilkeston is on the up!”