Sir Ed calls for direct service to London

Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001
Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001

Market Rasen’s MP, Sir Edward Leigh, has called for more rail services for Lincolnshire, including a direct London-Grimsby service.

“For years in North Lincolnshire, we have been arguing to get back our through-train from London to Grimsby via Market Rasen. At the moment, the train stops at Lincoln. What hope is there of getting back our train?” the MP asked in Transport Question in the Commons last week.

Secretary of State for transport, Patrick McLoughlin, replied that he “will certainly get back to him in more detail.”

The minister added services between Lincoln and London were increasing and the government was co-operating with Local authorities on improving rail links between London, market towns and cities further north.

Fellow Conservative MP, Andrew Percy for Brigg and Goole, echoed the Gainsborough MP’s calls for better links between Lincolnshire and London.

But the MPs comments have surprised local rail campaigners, who while backing the calls, suggest local services should be improved before intercity.

A spokesman for the Friends of The Brigg & Lincoln Lines rail group said: “Our Rail Group have been rather surprised by both the comments from the RT Hon Sir Edward Leigh and RT Hon Andrew Percy over the backing of a direct rail service to London.

“Our rail group fully support the Lincoln - London improvements but suggest that the two members of Parliament keep their feet firmly on the ground and look after their own back garden first.

“Market Rasen suffers from a basic two hourly East Midlands train service which is normally a single car 153 unit packed to the rafters and is incredibly still used for when the races are on at Market Rasen.

“As for Brigg it has had a Saturday only passenger service on the 72-mile long Sheffield Midland - Cleethorpes line for the last 21 years. Major complaints keep coming in to the rail group from new visitors about the state of the station area and the usage of it.”

On the plus side the group said it was awaiting the latest footfall figures from Northern Rail which should indicate an increase in passenger numbers from Brigg, Kirton In Lindsey and Gainsborough Central over the last 12 months.

Last week, the Government announced that it intends to award the new East Coast Franchise to Inter City Railways, a joint venture of Stagecoach and Virgin.

The new deal promises extra services from Lincolnshire to London, plus new trains and more seats in a £140M package across the East Coast.