The Robin Hood Line train service, which runs from Nottingham to Worksop via Mansfield, will be running on Sundays for the first time from this December.
Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council and East Midlands Trains, with special guest Alan Meale MP, Member of Parliament for Mansfield, will be announcing the new service this week on Friday 11 April 2008, 11.30am, at Mansfield Train Station.
Nottinghamshire County Council will be funding the service until May 2011, but if the service is as well used as expected it is hoped that the Department for Transport (DfT) will fund it on a permanent basis after this time.
The County Council has led a campaign to encourage the DfT to fund the Sunday service and has gained massive support with over 10,000 pledges of support from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire residents.
In response to the campaign, Tom Harris MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, has approved the start of the service from the start of East Midlands Trains new timetable on 14 December 2008 and the DfT has committed to carrying out a review in January 2011 to decide whether it will fund the service from May 2011.
It is hoped that the Sunday service will carry an average of 1,800 passengers by 2010, which should confirm the long-term DfT funding for the service.
Councillor Stella Smedley, Cabinet Member for Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The recent campaign has demonstrated the enormous local demand for a Sunday service for the Robin Hood Line. Tom Harris MP has considered this carefully and we are grateful for his positive response.
“This is great news for local people who will be able to take advantage of the new service for Sunday shopping and leisure activities and to allow them to get to work.”
Cllr Brian Parbutt, Portfolio Holder for Transport, Economic Development and Skills at Nottingham City Council, said: "Nottingham City Council stridently campaigns for better rail services. The Robin Hood Line improvements will tackle congestion on the A60 and A611 as well as helping an extra 90,000 people visit the city every year."
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, who will be operating the new Sunday service, said: “Our new December timetable will bring fantastic benefits for many passengers and communities along our route. The Robin Hood service has become increasingly popular since its launch and we’re pleased to be working in partnership with both the County Council and the City Council to deliver this new Sunday service.”
Alan Meale MP, Member of Parliament for Mansfield said: “This is a brilliant way to celebrate the creation of the Robin Hood Line Sunday service. All those 10,000 plus people who campaigned fiercely to make this happen should be very proud of themselves for they are now a part of both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire’s rail history.
“Mansfield is the largest town in the UK not to have a Sunday rail service. A Sunday service will support the regeneration of Mansfield town and will bring similar benefits to other businesses along the route.”
Rail Minister Tom Harris said: “It's great that Sunday services will run on the Robin Hood Line for the very first time and local bodies are funding local services. I thank local campaigners for their commitment to the line and congratulate them on presenting a very persuasive case. I wish them every success with the services.
"We want to increase capacity, run faster and even more reliable services across the East Midlands. We've pledged around £2m to increase the number of trains between Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield. We'd encourage passengers in the East Midlands to climb on board."
The service will run from around 0930 to 1930 and there will be 10 trains each way between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse.