Plans to create a rail test track in Nottinghamshire could help provide passenger services to some villages.
There have been ongoing calls for an extension to the Robin Hood Line, which runs between Nottingham and Worksop.
But a study in 2000 concluded a branch line to Warsop, Edwinstowe, Ollerton and Tuxford would be uneconomic.
Network Rail said making the Thoresby Colliery line into a test track could boost chances for passenger services as it will be fully maintained.
The company, which runs the UK's rail tracks and infrastructure, will use the Thoresby Colliery to High Marnham line to assess new plant and equipment.
Last month county and city councillors were told the growth in housing and business use near the route, along with a reduction in running costs, had made the financial case for the extension more attractive.