Campaign for faster and more frequent trains
A campaign for faster and more frequent trains is being backed by the The City of Lincoln Council.
The RailFAIR! campaign is calling on the Government to fund upgrades to the track between Lincoln and Nottingham – where the service frequency is around half that of some seaside branch lines and the fastest journey time is slower than 100 years ago.
Newark Business Club, which is spearheading the campaign, has developed a five-year strategy working with Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils, user groups, East Midlands Trains and Network Rail.
Their proposals include restoring the service to run two trains per hour on the line and to carry out re-signalling and improvements that will allow trains to travel at up to 90mph – a 50 per cent increase on the current maximum speed of 60mph.
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Other proposals include upgrading track and level crossings, and a future electrification of the line.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe, leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “It’s hard to believe a service running between two of the major cities in the East Midlands is no better than it was a century ago.
“Growing the local economy is one of our three main priorities and an improved service from Nottingham and Newark would certainly help commuters and visitors get into Lincoln.
“In addition, providing better services in peak hours will offer real choice for commuters who might otherwise take the car, when travelling by train could be faster, cheaper and less stressful.
“Lincoln would really benefit from these proposals, through two extra trains to Nottingham in the morning, an evening service every hour in both directions and an increase in the number of trains stopping at Hykeham, which would complement the major investment in the LN6 project.”
Improving the ‘Castle to Castle’ line would also support the infrastructure for freight trains, especially between Humber ports and Birmingham, and help access to London via an improved connection with Newark Northgate.
A key feature of the proposed strategy is that is would be mainly delivered through enhancing planned track and signalling renewals and improved use of existing rolling stock.
In the last decade, services on the route have been reduced to one train per hour, with some peak hour trains withdrawn. Last year, two-car trains were replaced with one-car trains, reducing capacity and leading to overcrowding.
According to the RailFAIR report, the Government annual spend on transport per head in the East Midlands was £235 in 2010/11, compared to £344 average per head in England.
The DfT has stated the additional trains must be funded by local authorities for the first three years, after which they would consider providing the necessary funding.
To support the proposals sign the RailFAIR! petition at http://railfair.co.uk