The towns and villages served by the route are listed below:
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.
The current Robin Hood Line never previously existed as it does now, it being 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 (as this avoided having to buy-back land), then swing south-east 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, however since both lines were 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.
The new line from Nottingham to Newstead opened in 1993, although Bulwell station didn't open until 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. The Nottingham tram opened in March 2004.
Currently, the Robin Hood Line operates Monday to Saturday service 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.