Spalding rail users to have more trains hourly during the day from 2021, EMR pledges
Rail passengers in South Holland can look forward to having more trains with more seats in the future.
East Midlands Railway (EMR) has revealed plans to improve the Peterborough to Lincoln service, which passes through Spalding, as part of a £600million investment by franchise operator Abellio.
During a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council’s highways and transport scrutiny committee on Monday, EMR managers confirmed plans to phase out single carriage trains by the end of 2019.
Improvements to the EMR Regional line, which also serves Sleaford, Ruskington and Metheringham, will see an hourly service launched by December 2021, along with new diesel trains for the route.
The changes are in addition to plans announced by Network Rail, the Railway Heritage Trust and ex-franchise operator East Midlands Trains in February for a £2.5million upgrade of Spalding Rail Station, including the installation of a new lift to provide step-free access to platform two.
George Scott, chairman of Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum, said: "We’re very interested in EMR’s plans because Spalding Rail Station has been underused for years.
"The lift will make the station compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which it hasn’t been for the past few years.
"But the only disappointing thing about EMR’s plans is that there’ll be no change to the timetable until 2021.
"Spalding will grow over the next two years so we need to start boosting the railway.
"If EMR can give us earlier and later trains, even if it’s just a pilot scheme to see what the demand is, I’m confident people will fill the carriages."
Coun Rodney Grocock, scrutiny committee member and county councillor for Donington Rural ward, said: "For many years, South Holland residents have been badly treated by not having good rail or bus services.
"At Monday’s meeting,I asked the question why more trains could not be deployed in South Holland where people are willing to travel by train if given the chance.
"I was told that a huge piece of work is being done at the moment so that by 2021, a lot more trains will be running daily from Lincoln to Peterborough, in both directions, via Spalding.
"I welcome all the changes planned and hope they will make life better for the good people of South Holland."
Another committee member, Suttons ward county councillor Chris Brewis, said: "I am immensely pleased with EMR’s plans."
An EMR spokesman said: "We are working with Network Rail to install lifts on each platform at Spalding station to make it more accessible for the future.
"Works are starting next month as part of the national 'Access for All' programme.
"In December 2021, we propose to increase services on the route via Spalding to hourly on weekdays and Saturdays.
"These would operate as through services to Lincoln and will run much later into the evening than is currently possible.
"The trains will also be formed of more modern rolling stock and include WiFi, plug sockets and air conditioning.
"All timetable changes are subject to a full and open public consultation and we look forward to working with local partners to provide the best possible service."