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East Midlands Trains has highlighted the need for new trains and extra carriages to continue driving faster economic growth for the East Midlands in a new report published today (16 September 2016).
The report “East Midlands: A Railway for Growth” sets out a number of key high level priorities that are needed to continue improving rail services across the East Midlands. The report has been published following input from local authorities, major businesses, universities, tourism companies and a range of other key stakeholders across the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and South Yorkshire.
The recommendations included in the report aim to deliver real benefit and meet stakeholder aspirations including:
The procurement of a new fleet of Intercity style (bi-mode) trains to replace the 40-year old High Speed Trains;
Faster journey times and more seats to London;
A firm plan agreed to secure additional carriages on regional train routes across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire and between Norwich and Liverpool;
Later evening trains and improved weekend services;
Improved northbound connectivity from Luton, Bedford and Northamptonshire; and
Better airport connections.
The Government is currently developing plans for the next East Midlands franchise which is due to start in 2018, a key part of which will be a public and stakeholder consultation.
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, which currently operates rail services across the region, said: “We are at a critical crossroads for rail services in the East Midlands and we have a great opportunity to work together now to secure the improvements needed for this railway.
“The message we are hearing from local stakeholders is very clear: if we are to build on the big progress made in recent years, we need to take action to ensure communities and the economy in the East Midlands benefit from further improvements and we don't lose out to other regions.
“Whilst there are major improvement plans with HS2 and electrification that we fully support, the proposals we have put together with our stakeholders would deliver fast improvements for our customers and communities whilst offering value for money for the taxpayer.
“We need to be loud and proud about the improvements that we would like to see and that our customers deserve. Now is the time to ensure that new trains and extra carriages can be secured for this rail network.”
Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, who helped to launch the new report added: “Transport plays a crucial role in the economy and the local communities of the Midlands.
“This new report ties in well with the work that Midlands Connect has been doing over recent months which identifies a need to transform our infrastructure and allow the Midlands to realise its full economic potential.
“HS2 is vital to the long term future of the Midlands. The forthcoming Royal Assent of the line to Birmingham and the Route Announcement confirming the line to Leeds via the East Midlands Hub Station at Toton, are both eagerly awaited.
“However, there is clearly a need now for more and faster trains for the East Midlands and the proposals contained in this report take a sensible and pragmatic approach to achieving that.”
East Midlands: A Railway for Growth also sets out the future journey time aspirations of stakeholders across the region including:
1 hour 50 minute journey time from Sheffield to London
90 minute journey time from Nottingham to London
60 minute journey time from Leicester to London
The report was launched on Friday 16 September at the East Midlands Rail Forum’s Annual Conference. A copy of the report can be found at www.arailwayforgrowth.co.uk.