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Railwatch 071 - April 1997

East Midlands

By Anthony Kay

Loughborough station Railtrack has announced proposals to refurbish Loughborough station, including lengthening platforms to take the full length of InterCity 125s, and improvements for people with disabilities. The run-down area outside the station is also due for a facelift, following Charnwood Borough Council's successful bid for £1.3 million from the Single Regeneration Budget. The plans include a bus-rail interchange, sorely needed because of the station's position three-quarters of a mile from the town centre and even further from most of the residential areas.

Station survey The branch is currently doing a survey of all stations in the region to see how user-friendly they are. The information will be used when lobbying for improvements which will be needed to attract more travellers to the railways.

Ivanhoe Line Marketing Leicestershire County Council continues to seek ways of marketing the Ivanhoe Line, which currently only runs between Leicester and Loughborough, serving the town of Syston and two large villages, Sileby and Barrow-upon-Soar. The council has admitted their original predictions of patronage were over-optimistic, given the population of the three settlements. Stage 2 of the Ivanhoe project (originally scheduled for completion in 1995, but now expected in 1998) will serve the towns of Coalville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch, as well as several substantial villages and the western suburbs of Leicester.

Welland viaduct In recent years Midland Main Line trains have had to be diverted over the Welland viaduct route (via Corby and Oakham) on several Sundays between January and March because of engineering works. The trains have been packed out with enthusiasts taking a rare opportunity to travel over this line. The diversion will not be operating this year but, given the popularity of the diverted services in previous years, MML could operate a regular Sunday morning service over the line anyway? Of course, what is really needed is for the line to be integrated into the network, with regular trains serving Corby on a Peterborough-Swindon service. MML is marketing bus connections from Corby into the rail service at Kettering, but we hope this does not distract attention from the need to provide a rail service to Britain's largest town without one.

Central Trains The branch has contributed to the RDS response to the draft Central Trains Passenger Service Requirement. We are disappointed that OPRAF's reply to our contribution appears to suggest that they are not interested in the views of voluntary groups like RDS.

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