Campaigners back proposal to bring back Rugby - Leicester railway line that was axed during 1960s Beeching cuts

The revival of the line would also see new passenger stations at Lutterworth and Cosby

An archive image of the line.

Dynamic plans to reopen a railway station at Lutterworth over 50 years after it was shut are being backed by South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa and the chair of Rugby Rail Users Group.

The Conservative MP and the group chair are getting behind the “exciting” scheme put forward by campaigners to reopen the Rugby to Leicester railway line.

The historic route was closed under the swingeing Beeching cuts as thousands of railway stations and hundreds of branch lines were axed back in the 1960s.

Lutterworth's old railway station.

Lutterworth’s station was shut on May 5, 1969 – some 70 years after it was opened in March 1899.

The ‘Lutterworth Line’ blueprint now being platformed by Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire would get the old Rugby to Leicester line back on track.

The bold initiative would feature two new passenger stations at Lutterworth and Cosby.

The route would also operate services between Northampton and Nottingham with a plan to link up the massive Magna Park logistics hub by the M1 near Lutterworth.

The scheme is being showcased by fired-up activists as the Government launches its ‘Restore Your Railway Fund’ in a bid to restore many rail connections lost over half a century ago.

Stephanie Clifford, chair of the Rugby Rail Users Group, said: "It's just over 50 years since the direct rail link between Leicester and Rugby was closed.

"During that time, demand for passenger travel and freight has grown spectacularly, and Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) is pleased to support the Restoring Your Railway proposal to re-establish this connection.

"The proposed route seems ingenious, useful and realistic. It restores a railway station to Lutterworth and provides a route for Rugby passengers not only to Leicester, but to Nottingham and beyond.

"The new settlements at Houlton and Lutterworth East will also be well-served by the link, adding to the journey possibilities.

"The proposed freight capacity will take pressure off local roads such as the busy A5 and relieve the congested West Coast Main Line between London and Rugby. In addition, the environmental credentials of the proposal are strong, as it effectively rides along next to the hard shoulder of the M1, minimising any impact."

Stephanie added that the planned line for Rugby will not impinge on any part of Rugby's Great Central Walk.

It could now be full steam ahead for South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa as he said: “These are hugely exciting plans to restore the historic Lutterworth Line between Leicester and Rugby and I am delighted to be supporting them.

“The proposals put forward by Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire would revolutionise the regional transport system we have in South Leicestershire and would meet one of the Government’s core objectives in moving HGV haulage to the much more sustainable rail freight network.”

He added: “The Lutterworth Line would bring huge economic and social benefits by linking Rugby, Northampton and Leicester together.

Harry Burr, of Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire, said: “As a new organisation created by the younger generation that will experience the biggest effects of climate change, Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire is very pleased to be leading on the Lutterworth Line application project to the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

“We'd like to connect as many people as possible in the most environmentally-sustainable way we can, which is why we are supporting this project.

“It connects a town of 10,000, Lutterworth, without an existing rail link, back to the rail network, while connecting three large communities together - Northampton, Rugby and Leicester."