Call for help to get increased passenger services through Sleaford in new East Midlands rail franchise

Sleaford railway station. EMN-170724-104931001
Sleaford railway station. EMN-170724-104931001

The county council would like to see more passenger services through Sleaford along the joint line between Peterborough and Doncaster, which has recently been upgraded.

Coun Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transport expressed the wish while urging people to take part in a consultation exercise on the new East Midlands rail franchise.

He said: “There’s real potential for quicker journeys along this route, linking Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln and Gainsborough.”

The Department for Transport launched its consultation yesterday (Sunday), with the deadline for responses being Wednesday October 11. Full details can be found at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-east-midlands-rail-franchise .

Coun Davies said: “The council has been lobbying hard for better train services over the last few years, and there have been a lot of improvements in that time.

“For example, there has been a significant increase in the number of stops on the Lincoln to Nottingham line. In fact, the number of services across a typical week at Hykeham has increased by more than 50 per cent over the last two years.

“In addition, the county council itself has helped improve Hykeham and Swinderby stations through our Access Lincoln programme.

“All this has led to almost a 23 per cent rise in passenger numbers over a 10 year period, with 5.2m people using Lincolnshire stations in 2015/16.

“And there are other improvements on the horizon. New direct services between Lincoln and London are due to launch in May 2019, and improved Sunday services between Lincoln and Sheffield are set to start later this next year.

“Now, we want to build on that momentum. The new East Midlands franchise covers the vast majority of train services across Lincolnshire, and we want to make sure we get a fair deal.”

Currently the franchise is run by East Midlands Trains, part of the Stagecoach group.

Coun Davies went on: “In addition, we’d like to see an end to the over-crowding that plagues some of our services with new, modern trains offering improved facilities such free wi-i and charging sockets.

“These types of improvements wouldn’t just make life more convenient for rail passengers – they would have significant economic benefits as well.

“We’ll be pushing for the best possible service for Lincolnshire, and it would be great if we had the local businesses and communities behind us too.”

The new franchise is expected to start in August 2019.