The Anonymous Widower

Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

The Ivanhoe Line, is a half-completed project left over from the days of British Rail.

  • The main objective appears to be to extend the current line between Lincoln and Leicester via Nottingham, East Midlands Parkway and Loughborough stations to Burton-upon-Trent along the freight-only Leicester-Burton-upon-Trent Line.
  • Some new stations will be added.

In January 2020, I wrote Silent Hydrogen Trains On The Cards For New Line Linking Burton And Leicester, after reading an article on Derbyshire Live.

I finished that article by listing the possibilities.

There are a lot of possibilities to extend the Ivanhoe Line to Burton and even beyond using the South Staffordshire Line.

  • Battery or hydrogen trains can be used.
  • Stations can be added as required.
  • The route will connect to East Midlands Airport.
  • A solution for Knighton Junction can surely be devised.

Amazon are reported to be interested in the project, as they have a big depot at Coalville.

It now looks like it’s all going to be turned into a plan for reality.

I do have some questions.

What Will Be The Solution To The Knighton Junction Problem?

Sadly, when the route was closed to passengers in 1964, British Rail simplified Knighton Junction at the Leicester end of the line. Wikipedia says this.

At the Leicester end of the line, Knighton North Junction has been dismantled and the former course of the line to the junction has been sold and turned into an industrial estate. The line’s remaining connection with the Midland Main Line is Knighton South Junction, which faces southwards, away from Leicester station. Trains between Leicester and the line therefore have to reverse direction at the junction.

This Google Map shows, what’s left of the junction.


  1. Leicester is to the North
  2. Burton is to the North-West.
  3. Melton Mowbray and London are to the South.

It looks to me, that someone at British Rail made it absolutely certain, that the rail line could not be reopened to provide a passenger service between Leicester and Burton.

For a train to go between Leicester and Burton, it would either need to reverse as Wikipedia indicated, or the curve would have to be very tight.

It looks like the preferred solution, will be to build a new station to the South of Knighton Junction.

  • The station would only need a single platform.
  • It could be easily fitted in alongside the Midland Main Line.

Trains will reverse to get around the tight corner.

Will There Be A Station At Leicester City Stadium

This Google Map shows the stadium.

Note the rail line passing to the South of the station.

It would appear that building a new station would not be the most difficult of projects.

But after the experience of Coventry City, who were relegated twice after Coventry Arena station opened, would Leicester City want a station?

Could The Ivanhoe Line Be Connected To High Speed Two At Ashby-de-la-Zouch?

I heard an MP on the radio, who was very much against High Speed Two and that led me to write Could High Speed Two Have A Station At Ashby-de-la-Zouch?.

I think this is a serious possibility in the future.

Could East Midlands Railway Use The Route To Run A London And Burton-on-Trent Service?


  • East Midlands Railway‘s Class 810 trains could be fitted with a battery, that would give the trains a battery range of between 55 and 65 miles.
  • The trains would have a charge time of perhaps 10 minutes.
  • The distance between Knighton Junction and Burton-on-Trent is around 35 miles.
  • The distance between Knighton Junction and the Northern limit of the electrification at Market Harborough station is fifteen miles.
  • The distance between Market Harborough and Burton-on-Trent stations is 50 miles.

I think it would be possible for a battery-electric Class 810 train to run between London and Burton-on-Trent.

  • The batteries would need to be charged at Burton-on-Trent.
  • Perhaps, the easiest way to provide charging facilities would be to electrify the last ten miles between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Burton-on-Trent stations
  • The service could call at all or selected stations between Knighton Junction and Burton-on-Trent.

I think this could be a very useful service, even if it only ran a couple of times every day.

Could Battery-Electric Trains Run The Whole Ivanhoe Line Between Lincoln And Burton-on-Trent?

The problem is not the trains, but the lack of electrification between Market Harborough and Clay Cross North Junction.

Leicester station is an important station on the MML.

But it would be a difficult station to electrify because of a bridge with limited clearance.

In Discontinuous Electrification Through Leicester Station, I discussed how the following.

  • Discontinuous electrification through Leicester station.
  • Electrification between Leicester and Derby stations.
  • Electrifying the High Speed Two route between Clay Cross Junction and Sheffield.

Would allow Hitachi Class 810 trains, equipped with batteries to run between London and Sheffield on electric power alone.


  • As I have said East Midland Railway’s new Class 810 trains could be fitted with batteries with a range of 55 to 65 miles.
  • The gap between Leicester station and the end of the electrification at Market Harborough is sixteen miles.
  • Knighton Junction is less than two miles South of Leicester station.
  • Burton-on-Trent is around forty miles from Leicester station.
  • All passenger trains passing through Leicester station, stop in the station to set down and pick up passengers.

It would thus appear that the following would be possible.

  • A Northbound battery-electric  train from St. Pancras to Leicester or further North could reach Leicester on battery power from Market Harborough.
  • A Northbound battery-electric train from Burton-on-Trent to Leicester or further North could reach Leicester on battery power from Burton-on-Trent.
  • A Southbound train from Leicester or further North to St. Pancras could reach Market Harborough on battery power from Leicester.
  • A Southbound train from Leicester or further North to Burton-on-Trent could reach Burton-on-Trent on battery power from Leicester.

Trains leaving Leicester would need to be fully charged.

So how would this be arranged?

I think the simplest method would be to electrify the  section of the Midland Main Line between Leicester and Derby stations.

  • The route is probably not the most difficult to electrify.
  • East Midlands Parkway has good electrical connections, as it is next to Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.
  • Nottingham is just nine miles from East Midlands Parkway.
  • Derby is thirty miles from East Midlands Parkway.
  • Clay Cross North Junction, where the joint electrified section with High Speed Two commences is twenty-one miles from Derby.
  • Lincoln is forty-two miles from East Midlands Parkway.
  • Battery-electric trains could use this electrification for both traction power and to charge their batteries.
  • As the trains would use battery power between Derby and Clay Cross North Junction, the sensitive issue of electrifying through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills, will have been avoided.

All East Midlands Railway’s InterCity services would be totally carbon-free.

It should also be noted, that as Lincoln is only forty-two miles from East Midlands Parkway, provided there was the ability to recharge the trains at Lincoln, the whole Ivinghoe route between Lincoln and Burton-on-Trent could be run by a suitable battery-electric train.

Could Hydrogen Trains Run The Whole Ivanhoe Line Between Lincoln And Burton-on-Trent?

If the route can be run by a battery-electric train, I can see no reason, why a hydrogen-powered train couldn’t do a good job on the route.

I suspect that the Alstom Breeze and any future trains, that are designed for hydrogen power, will also be able to use electrification, where it exists.

So, if any more electrification was erected on the Midland Main Line, the hydrogen trains would take advantage.

The hydrogen trains would need to be refuelled, but because of their long range, this would probably only be a twice a day operation at most.

There is probably space for a refuelling point, at either end of the route.


This is a good scheme, that should have been completed decades ago.

May 25, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line […]

    Pingback by Restoring Your Railway Fund « The Anonymous Widower | May 25, 2020 | Reply

  2. […] Lincoln is the Eastern terminal of Ivanhoe Line services. Currently, they run as far as Leicester, but by the time the East Midlands Hub station opens, the services will probably terminate at Burton-on-Trent. I wrote about this project, which is being promoted by the Restoring Your Railway Fund in Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line. […]

    Pingback by Access To Toton – Scheme 6 – Trowell Curve « The Anonymous Widower | May 30, 2020 | Reply

  3. the Campaign Group is at – includes a flyby video (which skates over the Knighton Jcn issue).

    Comment by Peter Robins | May 30, 2020 | Reply

  4. Knighton Junction is a problem and a reverse at a Leicester South station seems the only solution.

    Purists and train companies don’t like reverses and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an automatic reverse in situations like this. Crossrail’s Aventra will do something similar at Paddington.

    The other big problem in the station is its electrification. The bridge with the A6 and the station will have to be rebuilt and battery trains would be a much better solution to bring trains into and out of the station.

    Comment by AnonW | May 30, 2020 | Reply

  5. […] The Ivanhoe Line between Burton-on-Trent and Leicester stations. See Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line. […]

    Pingback by Green Light For Revived West Midlands Passenger Service « The Anonymous Widower | June 21, 2020 | Reply

  6. […] See Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line […]

    Pingback by Restoring Your Railway: Successful Bids « The Anonymous Widower | December 10, 2020 | Reply

  7. SOBC is at Discusses various options for phased opening, and potentially leaving connection into Leicester till a later stage.

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 19, 2022 | Reply

    • it occurs to me too that they should really decide what they’re going to do at Knighton before electrifying that bit, in case some track realignment to accommodate a new chord is needed.

      Comment by Peter Robins | June 19, 2022 | Reply

  8. In considering “Could East Midlands Railway Use The Route To Run A London And Burton-on-Trent Service?”

    I think you’ve only considered if it’s technically possible, not if it’s economically efficient (especially compared to the competing uses for very scare capacity at St Pancras.)

    From Burton (pop 73k) you have a range of ways to get to London, interchange at Derby or Tamworth, giving you a range of journey times from 1h53 to 2h (and from London there is one service that does it 1h22) , (which are available all day at about 2TPH with reasonable interchange times ) so what would a direct journey time be by comparison ?

    The other community in the area which wants a direct London service on the MML is Mansfield (district pop 109k), which currently has a London journey time of between 2h42 & 3h16 at 1TPH, socially deprived area, and MP for Mansfield is leader of Nottinghamshire County Council.

    So in short, trying to create a direct Burton – London service at all by any route, let alone along the Ivanhoe line route, would be a appallingly poor use of network capacity on the MML for which there are far better uses, and be only a marginal journey time benefit for only one population centre.

    Comment by Owen O | June 24, 2022 | Reply

  9. I take your point. I used to deal with a solicitor in Mansfield and it wasn’t the easiest place to get to. As I was living in Suffolk at the time, I used to drive to Nottingham and use the Robin Hood Line.

    Now I don’t drive and live in London.

    Comment by AnonW | June 24, 2022 | Reply

  10. […] I wrote about the Ivanhoe Line in Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line. […]

    Pingback by Five New Derbyshire Stations Could Be Built Under Rail Plans « The Anonymous Widower | June 29, 2022 | Reply

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