Train campaign is backed by 1,200

MORE than 1,200 signatures have been collected in the fight against proposals to cut rail services in the area.

Some commuters fear they may have to move closer to London or change jobs because of proposed cuts to train services calling at Kettering and Wellingborough stations.

Over a period of five weeks a petition has been signed by hundreds of concerned rail users.

Kettering MP Philip Hollobone said he hoped to hand over the document to Parliament next week.

Kettering councillor Christopher Groome started the petition after draft timetables released by franchisee East Midlands Trains, which runs the line, indicated the number of services between London and

Leicester would be cut next year.

East Midlands Trains, which is run by Stagecoach, took over from Midland Mainline on November 11 with a franchise of over seven years and four months.

Cllr Groome said: "I think everybody has been very supportive. We have found out a lot about how people work and how they will be affected by the changes. Some people may have to change jobs or uproot from the area – it's very serious."

Mr Hollobone said: "I am pleased. I've got 1,200 names here and there will be several hundred other signatures out there which have been signed in newsagents to be handed in.

"It's been very good, especially given that East Midlands Trains wouldn't allow us on to the platform to collect signatures.

"Despite that logistical difficulty, I think the response has been tremendous.

"I very much hope the petition will make Stagecoach and East Midlands Trains sit up and think about the impact their proposals will have on Kettering."

Kettering Rail Users' Group spokesman Mark Deutsch said: "I think East Midlands Trains now recognise that they do have a problem. But it's not necessarily one that will be easily sorted out. Nevertheless, we are not going to accept what they are trying to do.

"People in Kettering, even if they do not use the train, don't like being done out of their train service.

"I have never known so much support; it was very good. I am reasonably confident East Midlands Trains will do their best in response to the petition. I just hope their best is good enough."