Direct trains from Spalding to London touted

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RAIL bosses have drawn up plans for a direct link from Spalding to London – and campaigners hailed it as a chance to open up the whole region to better transport links and boost the economy.

The Network Rail 2016 Capacity Review document shows an “aspiration” for a line linking London King’s Cross to Skegness – via Spalding, Sleaford and Boston.

Network Rail confirmed that the line was included in its plans because an operator has shown interest in running the route, which has long been a dream of campaigners.

A spokesman said that Network Rail will be upgrading the Peterborough to Sleaford line between now and 2014 – something that could also pave the way for the new rail link.

The spokesman said: “As stated, it is an aspiration expressed by an open access operator and it is not yet possible to say whether it would come to fruition or how soon.

“The routing between Peterborough and Skegness looks possible; a more critical issue might well be finding paths between Peterborough and King’s Cross at times attractive to potential users of the service.

“Clearly, the service would derive benefit over the Peterborough-Spalding-Sleaford section from the Joint Line upgrade.”

The document states that running four trains per day on the route could be worth more than £2million a year.

Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum chairman George Scott said he was delighted to see that there is interest in the line – and added that passengers would benefit greatly from a rail link to Boston and Skegness as well as the direct London service.

Mr Scott said: “It’s a great idea. This could open up the whole region and boost the economy.

“Hopefully this idea will attract people’s interest.

“If operators are going to take an interest then we need to encourage them. it’s not going to be them getting on the trains and using it, it’s going to be us so we should support it.”

He hopes the London route could re-invigorate rail travel in the area – and be used to lobby for a new station at Littleworth Halt in Deeping St Nicholas, a Sunday service and better links to other parts of the country.