MP’s Column - Increased rail service welcomed

Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001
Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001

For what feels like centuries I have had the dubious honour of being the MP with the least-used railway station in all of Britain in his constituency: Gainsborough Central.

While there is a decent service at Gainsborough Lea Road, it’s always seemed a waste that the line to Cleethorpes isn’t better utilised.

Following a long campaign I’m very pleased that, from December, we will see a massive increase in the number of trains available from Gainsborough Central. Indeed there will even be an hourly service, which I am told has not existed in the entire history of the station since it opened in 1849.

From Monday to Saturdays the new service will call at all stops between Sheffield and Gainsborough Central, while the Saturday-only service to Cleethorpes will continue as normal.

Of course the success of this service will depend entirely on people in the area making use of it.

We have argued long and hard that more trains will provide better opportunities, but unfortunately in our part of Lincolnshire we’ve got too acclimatised to the rail companies not giving us ample opportunities to make use of their railways.

I hope that local residents will find these new trains useful.

We are also very hopeful that an agreement can be reached to restore a direct service between Market Rasen and London.

My colleague Martin Vickers, the Conservative MP for Cleethorpes, takes a keen interest in rail matters and has been working very hard to try and reconnect the south bank of the Humber with the capital of the realm.

As we are a sea-faring, trading nation, the docks at Immingham and Grimsby will only become more important as we leave the barriers of the European Union and free up British businesses to trade all over the world.

With the franchise for the rail operating company coming up sooner than originally planned, we may be able to include services between Market Rasen and London as requirements in the new agreement.

Virgin, for example, is already expanding the number of its services to Lincoln, so ideally an extension of service through Market Rasen and Grimsby ending at Cleethorpes could piggy-back onto these services.

Meanwhile, school standards continue to improve, with more than 1.9 million more children being educated in schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ since the Conservatives entered government in 2010.

This is 87 per cent of children compared to 66 per cent seven years ago.

Reading and writing skills are set to improve, with pupils meeting the suitable standard in phonics increasing from 58 per cent in 2012 to 81 per cent in 2017.

Free childcare for the families of 3 and 4-year-olds has also been doubled to 30 hours per week, which we hope will save families about £5,000 per year.

As always, there is never any shortage of priorities which we are pressuring the Government to pursue, but we are striving hard to cut costs for hard-working families and individuals and to improve the opportunities available to all.

Sir Edward Leigh

Gainsborough constituency