Train fares in Northamptonshire to be frozen for next two years

Anytime East Midlands Trains services from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough to London will be frozen until 2017
Anytime East Midlands Trains services from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough to London will be frozen until 2017

Plans by East Midlands Trains to freeze some train ticket prices from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough to London have been met with a cautious welcome.

The company, part of the Stagecoach group, will continue to serve the capital from Northamptonshire until 2018 after its franchise was extended.

As part of the new £13m deal, Anytime fares to London will be frozen until 2017.

Anytime tickets allow people to travel at any time of day on any day of the week.

Return tickets have to be used within five days of purchase, with the return journey completed within 28 days, while single tickets have to be used on the day of purchase.

But despite welcoming the news, LANRAC (Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Rail Action Committee) chairman and Burton Latimer councillor Christopher Groome feels more can be done to improve rail services in the north of the county.

He said: “The price freeze is excellent news and probably about as good as it is going to get at the minute.

“You can get cheap tickets if you book them enough in advance but the majority of tickets are very expensive.

“The investment into improvements on the service has hit a bit of a pause and it’s a bit disappointing that this is the first time a lot of money is being spent.”

Mr Groome feels more should be done to improve services going north of Kettering, including bringing back the half-hourly service to Leicester.

He added: “There aren’t enough trains going north to Leicester, Derby and Nottingham and we’ve been left with an hourly service.

“When the trains do run, they are very full and capacity needs to be increased.

“I’m pleased that they are looking to increase capacity from Kettering to Corby but this needs to be rolled out.”

The investment will also see more automatic ticket machines installed across the network, with £1m spent on improving accessibility at stations.

Customers travelling between Nottingham and Newark Castle will also have extra services on their timetables.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “This is a great deal for East Midlands Trains customers, and will mean significantly better journeys for passengers travelling around the region.

“This is another example of the work we’re doing to transform the UK’s railways as part of our long-term economic plan, with more than £38bn being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019.”

Stagecoach Group chief executive Martin Griffiths added: “This is a significant package of investment for customers travelling on East Midlands Trains, Britain’s most punctual long-distance train operator.

“It will build on what our team has achieved over the past eight years and deliver further valuable improvements for the millions of passengers and many communities who rely on the East Midlands Trains network.”

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