I am writing to you on behalf of the committee of the Welland Seniors’ Forum, of which I am vice-chairman.
The Forum is a society of approximately 100-plus members from 55 years old upwards.
Many are in their seventies and above. Some are, in some form, disabled. Many of them have senior rail cards and travel by train regularly.
A substantial upgrading of the rail track between Peterborough and Lincoln has recently taken place.
The result of this work has meant that the walkway between platforms one and two at Spalding station has been blocked off and all trains, with the exception of the 8.51am and the 1.03pm services to Lincoln, are now using platform one.
There is therefore no access to disabled passengers and other passengers who are unable to negotiate the steps to the foot bridge, to either of these two trains still using platform two.
The advice from East Midlands Rail was that prospective passengers who cannot negotiate the footbridge steps, wishing to travel to Lincoln on the 8.51am and 1.03pm trains, should travel by road to Sleaford (20 miles) and board the trains there.
As well as being ludicrous, this suggestion is also an insult to disabled travellers.
Probably it was made by a young executive of East Midlands Rail who is “dripping” with educational certificates but totally devoid of all common sense.
As I appreciate that criticism should be constructive, I give what I think could be an answer to the problem.
I understand that the upgrading has included a cancellation of the 10mph restriction to all trains at the farm crossing at Deeping St Nicholas.
This has made the journey time for all the trains between Peterborough and Spalding five or six minutes quicker.
One the days I did a survey, both the 8.51am and the 1.03pm were arriving in Spalding early and were held on platform two until the timetable departure.
My proposed solution therefore is:
n Re-time the departure of the 8.51am to Lincoln to 8.45am.
n Change the departure time of the 1.03pm to 12.57pm.
n Change the departure time of the 9.01am service to Peterborough to 9.06am.
n Change the departure time of the 1.06pm to 1.11pm.
This I believe would give time for both northbound trains to be in and out of platform one before the southbound trains arrived.
Any “waiting time” could be taken care of at Sleaford station to ensure the correct time of arrival at Peterborough and Lincoln in accordance with the timetable could be maintained.
EDITOR: This letter has also been sent to East Midland Trains.