Trains to gridlock Spalding over next five Saturdays

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Spalding traffic faces gridlock over the next five Saturdays with more than 100 trains passing through the station while the East Coast main line has multiple repairs.

Some 114 trains will pass through Spalding on Saturday – up to seven an hour – with freight and intercity services among those diverted. Normally Spalding has 22 trains a day.

MP and transport minister John Hayes is due to meet the company for urgent talks at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

District council leader Gary Porter wants guarantees from Network Rail that Spalding’s Vernatts Bridge, which is due to be replaced, can withstand the extra trains.

Coun Porter said: “I am just trying to seek their (Network Rail) reassurances that there are no safety implications for people on the trains – passengers and rail company staff.

“They have said they are going to bring a lot more traffic through on five consecutive weekends but they didn’t think it was a big enough issue to tell anybody, other than put some notice in the press. There was no consultation with the council, police, fire or ambulance. They seem to think it’s only a minor inconvenience.”

He said Network Rail had tried to serve the council with a notice to access the bridge via council-owned land, but the council decided “it wasn’t in the best interests of residents”.

Network Rail told the Free Press it did inform emergency services of the train diversions. With regard to Vernatts Bridge, a Network Rail spokesman said: “We would never run a train operation which was unsafe.”

The spokesman said the company planned to replace the bridge this Easter – but had been refused access by the council and another landowner. The existing bridge has been strengthened and “speed restrictions and holding repairs” may be needed until access is resolved.

• Read more in the Spalding Guardian on Thursday.