Karl McCartney, Member of Parliament for the City of Lincoln, and, Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways and Transport & IT on Lincolnshire County Council, are urging the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to refuse to give the go ahead to new applications from other operators applying to use the East Coast Mainline (ECML). The ORR are due to make a decision at their forthcoming board meeting on 26 April 2016.
If the access applications are successful, this will reduce capacity on the ECML, thereby jeopardising the planned increase in direct Lincoln to London services in 2019 which Virgin Trains have committed to introducing. Both Karl and Richard believe this will put a brake on the continuing success of Lincoln and the whole County, both as a centre for business and as an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Improving the number of direct services to and from London has been a long running campaign for both Karl and the County Council for over a decade. The Government itself has recognised the adverse impact on existing Network Rail investment plans if additional access is granted by the ORR by stating “forthcoming decisions…regarding access rights for open access operators on the [East Coast Main] line could impact on this [enhanced connectivity investment] and may detract from the business case for this enhancement.”
Karl McCartney JP MP, Member of Parliament for the City of Lincoln, said: “Hand-in-glove with the County Council and others, I have worked extremely hard to secure improved rail services between Lincoln and London because they are vital to the long-term success of our City and County.
“More direct services, will ensure this great City continues to be increasingly known as a first class destination for business and tourists. If the Office of Rail and Road grant these new applications, they will be holding back the City and County for many years to come and I have told them so in correspondence and face to face meetings.”
Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways and Transport & IT on Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Lincolnshire County Council has consistently campaigned over many years for better rail services from the City of Lincoln to and from London. It has been made clear to the Council that should these applications be granted, then the proposals for new and improved services to a number of stations on the East Coast Mainline including Lincoln will not be achievable. The importance which the County Council and its partners places on these new services in terms of the economic future of Lincoln and the County cannot be over-emphasised.”
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