Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Midland Main Line Vision - What is Yours? Please sign the Petition.

Please sign the petition by following the links:

No service cuts & keep Intercity trains to Bedford, Luton, Wellingboro, Melton & Oakham.

The consultation on the replacement East Midlands rail franchise ( proposes there to be no more Intercity trains for Luton, Luton Airport, Bedford, Wellingborough, Melton Mowbray or Oakham, and limited Intercity services for Beeston. It also proposes a reduced service between Leicester and Kettering.
On these proposals passengers between Luton/Luton Airport/Bedford/Wellingborough and Market Harborough/Leicester/Loughborough/Beeston/Nottingham will have to change onto the reduced number of Intercity trains that stop at Kettering (p29).
People that currently rely on these services will be struggling to get to and from work, or to visit relatives, when they have organised their lives around the current train service that will be cut. The proposals will make the problems of 'limited connectivity' (p18) worse, and are contrary to the expectation of passengers to "be rewarded for their loyalty" (p6) and to be respected (p24). 
As such, we oppose the approach of the consultation (question 4).  It is fundamentally wrong in strictly splitting services between electrified 'commuter' services and bi-mode Intercity services.  The distinction between a 'commuter' market and an 'Intercity' market that the consultation makes does not match the reality of "peak time" services (full of commuters) between London, "Nottingham, Sheffield and Derby" that the consultation talks of (p18). We also oppose the connected decision to cancel electrification between Kettering and Leicester/Nottingham/Derby/Sheffield.  By ending the strict split between electrified 'commuter' services and bi-mode Intercity services, Melton Mowbray and Oakham should retain their Intercity trains (question 5).
The consultation proposal is to increase capacity on the Midland mainline.  This should mean better services for all. The extra train compared to current timetables should be an hourly train London/Luton (or Airport)/Bedford/Wellingborough/Kettering/Market Harborough/Leicester/East Midlands Parkway/Long Eaton/Derby, sometimes going on to Sheffield. This is our response to consultation question 10.  We also believe there should still also be hourly trains London/Luton Airport Parkway/Bedford/Wellingborough/Kettering/Market Harboro/Leicester/Loughborough/Beeston/Nottingham (our opposition to the opproach of the consultation -question 4- should be explicitly taken as support for continuation of these existing services as well as Intercity services to Melton Mowbray and Oakham).  We answer question 20 that improving the "door-to-door journey experience" can only be acheived by increasing, rather than reducing the number of through trains, requiring all existing through services to be retained.
Rather than cutting stops and services, we consider, as part of our response to question 4, that since the next operator is to "come forward with plans for modern, fast, efficient and comfortable trains...including...Intercity trains" (p6), that those trains should be specified with enough/wide enough doors, specified for positions within the coaches that enable quick entry and exit.  We consider this to be a better overall approach to reducing delays by calling at intermediate stations (p18). 
Each of us wishes our signing of the petition to be treated as a formal individual response to consultation questions 4, 5, 10 and 20, in addition to any response to the consultation we may have sent through other means.  
This petition will be delivered to:
  • Secretary of State for Transport
  • East Midlands Rail Franchise Consultation Co-ordinator

Please see our website for what additions we need to be added to the Midland Main Line e.g. Bedford-Northampton and Derby-Manchester for example to enable more, diversity and accessibility 'off-roads'.

Regarding current Midland Main Line save fast services campaign, there needs to be a plan including:
a. reopening Bedford-Northampton - it clears trains off through tracks with shorter turn around times than Corby.
b. Track layout at Bedford needs serious planning and expansion to cater for east-north freight off of Cambridge-Bedford via St Johns. Anything else betrays EWRL principal contribution to over all environmental impact.
c. This campaign tends to see things from a London commuter view - the dominant numerical audience/popularism/votes in it, we must think strategically of how do we make more of local non London centric commuting options vice versa. We must act now to protect routes and keep option open.
d. Bedford needs a new station - like Luton on stilts with lift shafts and escalators to enable new twin track St John's - MML North of Bromham Road/ A428 bridge - where a third or expanded arch is required.
e. Government is short of money yet shies away from raising tax from the better off, pursuing indirect taxation methods instead = fare boxes increases and cuts to social supplementary benefits such as Travel Aid and passes.
f. North of Corby could be scaled back or even closed saving costs with core route focus instead. However if a plan exists to insert a curve at Manton, Oxford-Peterborough corridor could also be added to the core East-West focus' not as a sub for a Bedford-Sandy-Cambridge rail link which serves Bedford Town Centre - hence the need to move the station back to top of Midland Road - but as an additional link/capacitor and that is why we do need a freight plan for example a regional recycling centre rail served at Forders Sidings with renewable energy study and development research, science and actuality - the doing of it. All start ups often incur outlay and need start up funding - does it exist, can a vehicle be established to nurture demand and supply rail based, not 00's of lorries every time a development sneezes.
g. Leicester is a bottle neck. Leicester-Burton reopening enables MML - Burton-Derby capacity
h. Matlock-Buxton/Chinley enables MML to do more fast wise. Bedford-Northampton give direct Bedford-Birmingham capability, Derby - Manchester gives Bedford and MML principal larger city direct commute rail access. No plan means tomorrow will be as today minus diminutives = worse. We have to say "buck stop here" and plan, invest for incremental development.

ERTA is supporting the effort but calls for a medium term plan cross council border to be put together which looks at diversionary and feeder options to the spinal route and remember calls for more trains begs the question of terminal capacity, so we do need routes around London and reopening the freight only Dudding Hill Lines to regional passenger services like Luton - Windsor and Eton Riverside and Luton-Heathrow for example just gives people more options. Likewise West Hampstead interchange ground level to Gospel Oak link would give North and East London not via centre options. Joined-up-ness is the ticket, not fragments or locked-in London centric myopia which long term is unsustainable for sheer volume per capacity.

Apologies for any duplication however informed. Further reader please see our Blogspot:

Yours sincerely,

Richard Pill
Chairman of ERTA and Media Services Officer
Media Enquiries: 01234 330090.

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