Great Rail Betrayal

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Dave the Mayor trains

The East Midlands Railway (EMR) consultation has now been published and has confirmed the Conservative Government’s downgrade of the Bedford rail services, with Bedford completely disappearing from the Intercity map.

The East Midlands Railway consultation confirms Bedford commuters and leisure travellers worst fears:

  • Totally removing Bedford form the Intercity map.
  • No Direct links north beyond Kettering and Corby (due to cuts to direct north bound trains).
  • Slower commuter style trains to London in place of today’s intercity services.

I, and my Liberal Democrat colleagues, warned about these potential cuts and reductions in service and local Conservatives accused us of scaremongering!

I attended the initial consultation with hundreds of local residents arguing for Bedford to keep Intercity services and our links to the north and the midlands. It is very disappointing that local residents have been ignored.

Claims, in the consultation, of a “more frequent service” are complete nonsense, as slower trains – all stopping at Luton or Luton Airport – are proposed.

We have had all the pain for electrification with the closure of Bromham Road Bridge, and cancelled trains along with rail replacement buses, but none of the gain. This followed the chaos of the 2018 timetable changes. The Government must now intervene and reverse its decision imposed in this broken franchise. They are directly responsible for this disaster.

I am urging residents to sign my petition calling for the full restoration of our northern connection, and for faster trains into London. You can sign it at https://bedfordlibdems.org.uk/rail.

I am also urging residents to respond to the East Midlands Railway Consultation at https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/december2020.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.