No service cuts & keep ½hourly Intercity trains to Bedford, Luton, Wellingboro after 2019.
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East Midlands Rail Campaign (fb.me/EastMidsRailCampaign).
The Department for Transport consultation on the replacement East Midlands rail franchise (http://bit.ly/east-midlands-consultation) proposed 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 proposed 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 would 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 (as individuals and as part of the East Midlands Rail Campaign fb.me/EastMidsRailCampaign) oppose the approach of the consultation. 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.
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/Leicester/East Midlands Parkway/Long Eaton/Derby, sometimes going on to Sheffield, sometimes to Manchester. 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 should be explicitly taken as support for continuation of these existing services as well as Intercity services to Melton Mowbray and Oakham, as well as the stops that provide a second Intercity train per hour serving Market Harborough, Loughborough and East Midlands Parkway).
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 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).
We call on the Department for Transport to take account of our views in drawing up the new franchise Invitation To Tender for the East Midlands.
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