Bedford MP hopeful brands East Midlands Railway consultation a disaster

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Claims of more frequent trains for Bedford have come under fire from the town's Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate.

The East Midlands Railway consultation is out and according to Henry Vann confirms Bedford commuters’ and leisure travellers worst fears with slower trains all stopping at Luton and Luton Airport.

They include:

- Removal of Bedford from the Intercity map.

Henry VannHenry Vann
Henry Vann

- No direct links north beyond Kettering and Corby.

- Slower commuter-style trains to London in place of today’s intercity services (going from as fast as 35 minutes to 41 minutes).

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Mr Vann, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Bedford and Kempston, himself a former commuter, condemned the consultation.

He said: “The Conservatives have let down Bedford and Kempston and residents across Bedford borough yet again; they simply can’t be trusted on the railways.

“We have had all the pain for electrification with the closure of Bromham Road Bridge, and cancelled trains, but none of the gain. The Government must now intervene and reverse its decision imposed in this broken franchise. They are directly responsible for this disaster.”

He added: “The so-called ‘return of East Midlands services’ is profoundly misleading. I urge people to sign mine and Daniel Norton’s petition for the full restoration of our northern connection, and for faster trains into London.

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“In a further slap in the face, in their consultation document, Network Rail call The Midland Main Line 'one of the UK’s most important railways' but they continue to let us down around Bromham Road Bridge and numerous other delayed or cancelled works."

However, the consultation says the key facts for Bedford are:

- Reintroduction of EMR peak services for Bedford.

- Two EMR Electrics services per hour to/from London St Pancras International.

- Consistent and evenly spaced northbound and southbound departure times throughout the day, with services planned to run every 30 minutes in each direction.

- Fastest off peak services to London in 40 minutes.

- Average journey time of just over 40 minutes.