Monday, 20 June 2016

Press Release for Northampton-Bedford Rail Link Support

20 June 2016
Press Release

SOS Please help save the Northampton-Bedford railway trackbed

Northampton (Population approximately 200, 000) is half way between London and Birmingham off the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and Bedford (Population approx. 150, 000,) on the Thameslink/Midland Main Line, half way location is Olney (population 6500 but 5 mile catchment of villages adding up to 33, 000). There is a 20 mile gap between Northampton and Bedford. Bedford has services to Luton Airport, Luton and London, Gatwick Airport and Brighton, Northampton to Birmingham via Rugby. The two towns stare at each other, but the gap means awkward travels by lengthy bus (1.5 hours each way with congestion) and the service is not commensurate to the timetable of the railway. Different operators means different and not transferable ticketing and changes means delays and cost. Traffic queues form on the A428 into Bedford, whilst Northampton suffers gridlock with A14 (Felixstowe-Thrapston)-A45 to Northampton/M1.

We are seeking reopening of this rail link, this missing 20 mile gap in the rail network. It would link 4 airports (Gatwick, Luton, Coventry and Birmingham), one train, one ticket, and offer more joined-up options. Applications like the Blisworth Rail Freight Depot do not seem to understand that south of Rugby capacity is at a premium. Meanwhile because of the congestion Northampton uniquely faces, having major trunk roads and a motorway converging in an urban cordon, means congestion in a development context will compound. Only a rail link to Bedford, offering direct, fast services to Luton Airport and Cambridge ultimately can offer the quality of choice to lure people out of their cars and get lorries off the roads and back onto the rails where they belong.

ERTA Media Spokesperson said “This scheme (Bedford-Olney-Northampton dubbed 'The Cobbler Line') needs professional support, interest and champions. We should not let a strategic corridor be assassinated by piecemeal developments of dubious worth and I therefore ask you to help us get the official and strategic support we need. If opponents of Blisworth put their shoulders to supporting reopening the rail link to Bedford, its chances of success would be increased. We invite people to join ERTA and do just that.”

End Press Release

Further comment: Richard Pill, ERTA Media Spokesperson, 01234 330090/

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