MP vows to put pressure to improve rail services in Market Rasen

Rasen station EMN-180204-101536001
Rasen station EMN-180204-101536001

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has vowed to petition the government for improved rail links in the town after an announcement the service is to be nationalised.

Stagecoach and Virgin Trains services on the East Coast Main Line will be brought back under public control on June 24, and trains will be run by London North Eastern Railway (LNER).

Talks had been under way with Virgin Trains to secure direct rail links from the Humber South Bank to London, with services passing through Market Rasen.

But Sir Edward does not think the end of the franchise agreement will damage this bid.

He said: “I’m not convinced that it really matters to local people if the train services, available from Market Rasen railway station, are provided by a company in public or private ownership.

“What we all surely agree upon is the need to improve the current rail services?

“We want decent through services south to Lincoln and north to Grimsby and direct connections to London, as we had in the past.

“With the government taking control of the east coast franchise from Virgin Trains and Stagecoach, and re-launching the historic LNER brand to run services, I will petition the Transport Secretary to make sure we get improved services.”

Sir Edward, West Lindsey District Council and the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce had thrown their support behind efforts by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers to restore direct rail links to the capital.

Mr Vickers had been in talks with the train companies in an attempt to restore rail services which are seen as increasingly important in light of the growing renewables industry in Grimsby, and the Port of Immingham expansion.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling made decision to nationalise the service, saying the franchise had failed.

The Department for Transport will run East Coast Main Line services until a public-private partnership can be appointed in 2020.

This is the third time a franchise on the East Coast Main Line has failed.

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Grayling said: “I don’t want these changes to be of anxiety to passengers.

“I want to reassure them there will be no change to train services. The timetable will remain the same.”

General secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, Mick Whelan said: ‘We welcome the decision. This is the third time in ten years that a private company has messed up on the east coast main line. When it was run in the public sector, it returned more than £1 billion to the Treasury.”