Robin Hood Line
|Robin Hood Line|
A class 158 on a Nottingham service
|Operator(s)||East Midlands Trains|
|Rolling stock||Class 153 Super Sprinter
Class 156 Super Sprinter
Class 158 Express Sprinter
|No. of tracks||One-Two|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Robin Hood Line|
The towns and villages served by the route are listed below:
- Mansfield Woodhouse
- Langwith, Nether Langwith and Whaley Thorns
Passenger services are operated by East Midlands Trains. The line in its present form opened to passengers in stages between 1993 and 1998. Following the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, the line had been freight-only. The cuts had left Mansfield as one of the largest towns in Britain without a railway station.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2011)|
The current Robin Hood Line never previously existed as it does now: it was formed from two formerly separate railways. The bulk of the line re-uses the former Midland Railway route from Nottingham London Road to Worksop. However, to keep the costs of the re-opening initiative as low as possible, as much still extant line as possible was to be re-used.
From Worksop, the line followed the old Midland route as far as Sutton-in-Ashfield. Between Sutton-in-Ashfield and Kirkby-in-Ashfield, the line had been diverted to join the former Great Northern Railway (GNR) route through the area. This had allowed British Rail to sell land right in the centre of Kirkby-in-Ashfield whilst keeping a route through the town. After crossing the town on the GNR route, the line re-joined the old MR route, where it remained as a freight line to Pye Bridge, near Ironville.
When plans for the Robin Hood Line were drawn up, it was decided to stay with the GNR route through Kirkby-in-Ashfield (to avoid having to buy back land), then swing southeast via Kirkby South Junction onto the former Great Central Railway main line from Manchester to London.
After briefly following the GCR, the line would then climb to re-join the Midland route to Nottingham to allow reconnection at Newstead.
This plan had a major obstacle: the Robin Hood Hills at Annesley. Both the Great Central Railway and the Midland Railway had driven tunnels through these picturesque landmarks, but since both lines closed, both tunnels had been filled in. The Great Central Railway's tunnel had been at a lower level than the Midland's and so was much longer. It was therefore much cheaper to re-excavate the Midland's tunnel, which was found to be in excellent condition.
The new line from Nottingham to Newstead opened in 1993 although Bulwell station opened only in 1994. It was extended to Mansfield Woodhouse in 1995, with Kirkby-in-Ashfield station opening in 1996. The through passenger route from Nottingham to Worksop opened in 1998.
Since then the section between Bulwell and Hucknall has been converted from double track to single track to allow space for the new Nottingham Express Transit tramway, which follows the route as far north as Hucknall and opened in March 2004.
Currently, the Robin Hood Line operates a Monday to Saturday service between 05:30am and 10:30pm. During the day, trains run at half hourly intervals between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse, with one service an hour continuing to Worksop.
A Sunday service began on 7 December 2008, with ten trains running between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse between 09:15am and 10:30pm. Four of those continued to Worksop. The Sunday service was funded by Derbyshire County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. An understanding was made with the Department for Transport that, if the patronage reached an agreed threshold after two years, they[who?] would consider taking over the service and incorporate it within the East Midlands Trains franchise. However, this service was not a commercial success north of Mansfield Woodhouse, and Nottinghamshire County Council decided to reduce its funding and prioritise running a reduced service from 22 May 2011 between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse only.
Therefore as of 22 May 2011, the Sunday service runs as far as Mansfield Woodhouse on a reduced basis.
Just north of Shirebrook station is a junction with a freight branch line that was used for coal traffic to High Marnham power station via Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton. Following closure of the power station the line is disused but has been kept open and fully maintained as a test track for driver training. In mid-2009 Nottinghamshire County Council commissioned a feasibility study to consider a plan to extend the Robin Hood Line along this route by extending the current hourly service between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse to Ollerton, calling at Shirebrook, Warsop and Edwinstowe (for Sherwood Forest Center Parcs holiday resort).
- BBC Nottingham: Robin Hood line history Accessed 19 April 2011
- "Timetable: Local Services". East Midlands Trains. December 2007.
- "Robin Hood Line Sunday Service". Nottinghamshire County Council. December 2008.
- "Hope for Robin Hood branch line". BBC. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Lambourne, Helen (22 July 2009). "New bid to extend rail link to Ollerton". Worksop Today. Retrieved 21 February 2010.