The decision to scrap intercity rail services between Bedford and St Pancras during the rush hour has been blasted by the town’s bosses.
In an unexpected move, it was announced this morning that fast train services will no longer call at Bedford or Luton on their way to St Pancras on weekday mornings, from May 20.
And there will also be no fast trains making the return journey during peak time evenings.
This comes despite numerous meetings in recent weeks between Bedford Borough Council, Network Rail, and the Department for Transport, with no indication of these cuts.
Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston, said: “Once again, it looks like plans have been drawn up by rail bosses behind closed doors, and Bedford rail-users have been ignored.
“If the timetable changes proposed here go ahead, this will be a major blow for Bedford’s commuters travelling south- and for those travelling north on peak services the news is even worse.
“I will be seeking some urgent answers from the East Midlands Trains and GTR and crucially also from the government – upgrading the Midland Mainline should not mean withdrawing services from Bedford.”
The change will be in place for two years while the Midland Main Line Upgrade takes place.
Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson was even angrier.
He said: “This scandalous announcement will cause huge upheaval in people’s lives.
“It is a fundamental change which is being imposed with no explanation, let alone any consultation with rail travellers or the council.
“I am demanding answers from government, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains, and will be insisting on a reversal of this shocking loss of services.
“With no explanation for this sudden change, it looks like an attempt to force through the plans to cut all intercity services from Bedford by the back door. Either way, coming days after the announcement of yet another inflation-busting fare rise it’s a disgraceful betrayal of Bedford rail users.
“I will fight this on their behalf in every way I can.”