Passengers group in plea for extra trains

A rail passenger group has renewed its call for a second rail service north from Kettering towards Leicester to be reinstated by train operators
A rail passenger group has renewed its call for a second rail service north from Kettering towards Leicester to be reinstated by train operators
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A rail passenger group has renewed its call for a second rail service north from Kettering towards Leicester to be reinstated by train operators.

The Kettering Rail Users group says there should be more than just one off-peak service an hour, with a second service going via Derby rather than Nottingham.

A Derby service would be more convenient for passengers connecting to most other parts of the country.

Group chairman Christopher Groome has responded to a timetable consultation run by East Midlands Trains (EMT), which operates services from London St Pancras to Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough and beyond.

Mr Groome said it was not good enough that of the four services passing north through the county every hour in off-peak times, only one stopped at our stations.

He said: “It does affect people – there’s a big difference between a half-hourly service and an hourly service.

“More than a million people a year use Kettering station and not having a service every half hour is not good enough.

“It just needs rethinking. Market Harborough gets two trains an hour and a fast train to London. It’s a smaller place with a smaller amount of business. This is a growing county with growing business, and we should get a bit of the cake.”

Passengers from Corby who want to go north have to wait almost an hour at Kettering because of an apparent lack of co-ordination of the timetables.

Mr Groome said: “At Corby it’s even worse – there’s only one train an hour and it’s timed to miss the northbound service [from Kettering].”

He said there was also a chance at the end of next year to demand the inclusion of the timetable alterations when the contract to operate the line is up for renewal.

However, EMT says it is unlikely to be able to introduce an extra northbound service.

In a statement, a spokesman said the operator regularly consulted passenger groups and other stakeholders to get views on how to improve its timetable.

The spokesman added: “There are numerous examples of positive changes we have made as a result of feedback from our stakeholders, for example the introduction of the new 10.16 service from Corby to London in the December 2013 timetable.

“There are, however, many factors that need to be taken into consideration when reviewing our timetables, such as whether it is operationally and commercially viable to introduce a new service.

“We are aware of the aspirations of the Kettering Rail Users to introduce northbound connections from Kettering, and we will keep all feedback under review. However, at the current time it is not operationally viable to introduce a new half-hourly northbound service.”

Frustration for passengers

In off-peak times, four trains via Leicester leave St Pancras every hour.

Only one stops at Kettering and Wellingborough, but two at Market Harborough.

Corby passengers wanting to travel north are also frustrated by an hour-long wait at Kettering, with the northbound train leaving as the Corby service arrives.

It means a journey from Corby to Market Harborough takes more than an hour and a quarter by train.