Shake-up of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough train services proposed

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Train passengers wanting to travel from Wellingborough to Leicester face having to change at Kettering in the future.

The proposals were revealed this morning as part of the process to select an operator for the Midland Mainline, which runs from St Pancras and through Northamptonshire.

An increase in off-peak services for Kettering and Corby could also be on the cards.

Public consultation on the process has now begun, which will see current operator East Midlands Trains or another company run the franchise from August 2019.

The Department for Transport consultation document says: ”We want to reduce journey times on intercity services, which are longer during the peak hours compared with off-peak.

“We also want to give everyone a seat.

“At the moment all passengers on the Midland Main Line travel on the same intercity trains.

“This means that passengers travelling to London from South Yorkshire and the East Midlands have much longer journey times during the peak because intercity trains also serve stations closer to London to pick up commuters.

“Commuters travelling to London from Kettering currently receive a frequent peak service, with up to five trains an hour.

“However, because the trains are carrying passengers from further north some people do not get a seat.

“On northbound peak journeys, passengers are often unable to get a seat until after the commuters travelling shorter distances have disembarked.

“An option we are considering to improve intercity journey times between Sheffield (via Derby), Nottingham and London St Pancras is to not stop as often at stations used by commuters, such as Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough and Kettering. “Passengers at these stations would instead be served by dedicated high quality commuter trains operating on the Corby – London route.

“Although we intend to deliver faster journeys and introduce more seats, we recognise that the proposed changes have the potential to inconvenience some passengers. 
“While they may result in some stations having more train services an hour at peak times compared to today other stations would have fewer services.

“However, overall, the revised timetable and introduction of modern, longer trains would increase the number of available seats at peak hours, reducing overcrowding and making journeys more comfortable.

“For example, at the moment a lot of southbound intercity trains call at Kettering but they are full by the time they get there.

“Our proposals mean that fewer peak time intercity trains would stop at Kettering – and none would call at Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton or Luton Airport Parkway – reducing the overcrowding on those intercity services.

“Instead, in the peak hour, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway would be served by trains that started their journey in Corby.

“Although the service at peak time would be less frequent, far more seats would be available meaning more capacity and a better commuting experience for all passengers.

“Additionally, Kettering and Corby would get an increase in off-peak services.

“Another consequence of our proposals would be that (apart from intercity journeys starting or ending at St Pancras) journeys between destinations north and south of Kettering (e.g. Luton Airport to Nottingham or Leicester to Wellingborough) would no longer have direct through-trains.

“Passengers would instead potentially have to change at Kettering.”

The document said a series of public events will take place during the consultation, but no details have yet been released.

It was also announced this morning that electrification of the line further north of Kettering and Corby will not now take place, with more modern trains being used to cut journey times instead.