New station hopes for South Holland fade as bill rockets to £4.3 million

Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum members meet with representatives from East Midlands Trains, Network Rail, Lincolnshire County Council and Spalding town centre manager Dennis Hannant at Spalding Rail Station.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum members meet with representatives from East Midlands Trains, Network Rail, Lincolnshire County Council and Spalding town centre manager Dennis Hannant at Spalding Rail Station. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Talks held between rail bodies and transport pressure group
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Campaigners hoping to see a Deeping St Nicholas train station reopened have suffered a potentially fatal blow after learning that it could cost at least £4.3 million.

The revelation about Littleworth train station emerged during talks between bus and rail bodies with Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum on Monday.

Littleworth is the most obvious solution to relieving road traffic growth between Spalding and Peterborough but changes in risk assesments could potentially take the overall cost to £4.3 million

George Scott, chairman of Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum

Ways to relieve traffic congestion in South Holland, where the forum estimates more than 81 per cent of people own cars, and the benefits of a £280 million rail modernisation programme were also discussed.

Forum chairman George Scott said: “The meeting was one of many to follow up the Lincolnshire Transport Conference we held in October 2015.

“It was initially intended to be a private discussion on how to move forward the project to reopen Littleworth rail station in Deeping St Nicholas.

“But we also discussed how we could improve rail services and utilise the GNGE (Great Norther Great Eastern) rail enhancement programme, with the possible reopening of Spalding Rail Station’s Park Road entrance.”

During the visit, representatives from East Midlands Trains, Network Rail and Lincolnshire County Council were shown around Spalding and Littleworth which was closed to passengers in 1961.

Mr Scott said: “Littleworth is the most obvious solution to relieving the future growth of car ownership in South Holland, currently at 81.4 per cent and projected to rise to 90.4 per cent, against a national average of 74.6 per cent.”

“But the overall costing for Littleworth rail station is £4.3 milliion as a foot bridge would most likely be needed over the level crossing, as well as car parking availability.”

The talks between Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum, rail companies and Lincolnshire County Council were also attended by Spalding town centre manager Dennis Hannant.

He said: “A properly functioning rail station, with regular trains to and from Peterborough and Lincoln, is a key part of the communication infrastructure for a growing town such as Spalding.

“The provision of a rail station at Littleworth makes eminent sense as it will relieve the pressure on the road network and allow residents in that area to use the train to travel to Peterborough more directly, without having to travel some miles to a rail station elsewhere.

“I believe the justification for a station at Littleworth is already justified but, as always, the key to the project will be the securing of funding towards it.”

Meanwhile, an East Midlands Trains spokesman said: “We are always pleased to meet our users and passengers to listen to feedback on how we could improve our existing services and ideas for the future.

“We will continue to meet with the Lincolnshire Transport Forum to understand more about their priorities for Spalding.”

A Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said: “It was a useful meeting with the various parties and, in respect of the new East Midlands Trains franchise, Lincolnshire County Council, like others, is keen to see improved rail services for Spalding.

“This applies both to trains travelling north to Lincoln and south to Peterborough on weekday evenings, as well as at weekends.

“We will be lobbying the Department for Transport for this to be included as part of the next franchise.

“As for a possible re-opening of Littleworth Station, there remains questions about whether such a scheme is viable, particularly in terms of funding for both the necessary further studies that are required to satisfy Network Rail and the cost of the station itself.”

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