LETTER OF THE WEEK: Rail service changes will have major adverse effect

You ask for comments on how our area will be effected by the proposals for future rail services from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough from 2020.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 9:22 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 9:27 am
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These will have a considerable adverse affect on the many people who commute, north and south, from our towns, and especially from Wellingborough.

Peak and off-peak journey times to London will inevitably be slightly longer since the timetable requires greater use of the slow lines north of Bedford which are currently being restored to four tracks.

Commuters will lose one train at both peak times but since the new trains will be longer and will no longer be carrying passengers from north of Kettering, it is unclear whether or not the overall number of available seats will increase.

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Service quality will be downgraded from an Inter-City type service using IC125s and Class 222 Meridians to outer-suburban electric units.

Note, that despite this reduction in quality, there is no proposal to reduce premium Inter-City type fares which at present are up to 60 per cent higher per mile than Thameslink fares from Bedford.

Withdrawal of through trains to the north will make journeys to Leicester and beyond both longer and more inconvenient by the need to change trains, and cross the footbridge, at Kettering.

The considerable volume of students and commuters to Leicester and all disabled passengers will be particularly affected.

Our northbound services were already halved in 2009 to hourly without any corresponding reduction in fares.

A decade ago we could travel hourly to both Derby and Nottingham.

The proposed interim service from this May to 2020 actually offers faster peak trains to London by removing Bedford and Luton stops but at the cost of pushing Wellingborough commuters to these towns on to a bus service to Bedford with a massive increase in times.

Furthermore, during this period we will continue to have two off-peak trains per hour to London but at 8 and 52-minute intervals.

So it seems that Wellingborough faces both the loss of
its high-quality London service and the loss of through services to the north without any visible corresponding benefit.

Edmund Worthy