Petition against proposed train changes for north Northamptonshire reaches 4,000 signatures

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A petition against plans to radically change train services in the north of the county has attracted 4,000 signatures.

The ‘Save Our Trains’ petition opposes a proposal to end direct intercity trains for Luton, Luton Airport, Bedford, Wellingborough, Melton Mowbray and Oakham.

Plans are also on the table for a reduced service between Leicester and Kettering.

If the proposals go ahead, passengers travelling north from Wellingborough will have to change on to the reduced service at Kettering.

Ben Foley of the East Midlands Rail Campaign, who set up the petition, said: “If enough people join the 3,700 who have already signed the petition, we have a real chance of not just stopping the worst of the proposals, but of ending with the best train service yet on this route.”

The petition also opposes the decision to scrap the electrification of the line north of Kettering.

The plans could also see journey times increase because of slower trains and lines.

Samantha from Burton Latimer signed the petition.

She said: “Why should there be fewer trains when current trains are already overcrowded with many people paying and having to stand?

“Also does the Government think fewer people want to go north of Kettering or fewer people north of Kettering want to travel south?”

UKIP MEP for the East Midlands Jonathan Bullock says the plans make no sense.

He said: “This logic is flawed – electrification of these lines, which includes Midland Mainline (operated by East Midlands Trains), in my own constituency, would benefit commuters enormously.

“The decision to scrap those plans makes little or no sense, while the Government continues to spend eye-watering sums on HS2, which is purely a vanity project.

“There is little point in connecting different parts of the UK to the Continental train system if local projects wither and die.

“The suspicion must be that money is being maintained for the blue riband HS2 project, at the expense of medium and small-scale projects of greater urgency.

“Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said he also wants to invest in ‘bi-mode’ trains, which can switch between diesel and electric, while at the same time continuing a policy of hammering diesel car drivers.

“I live near to Kettering and bi-mode trains will be used on the new East Midlands franchise, thus leading to the plan to electrify the line north from Kettering being scrapped.”

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone has also written to Mr Grayling to on behalf of Wellingborough Council over its concerns.

There will be a public consultation event organised by the Department for Transport at Kettering Conference Centre in Thurston Drive, Kettering, from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday, September 13.

It will give local people a chance to ask questions and air their views.

The consultation runs until October 11 and can be viewed here.

To sign the petition, click here.