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Railwatch 072 - July 1997

East Midlands

By Anthony Kay

Central opportunity National Express which runs Midland Main Line services has also won the franchise for Central Trains. There is certainly a need for the sort of vision which has been applied to MML but Central Trains has a more challenging and widespread network of cross-country, rural and commuter services. The announcement at the end of April of major job losses at Central Trains does not augur well.

Challenge to stunted vision Rapidly increasing costs associated with privatisation have led Leicestershire County Council to rethink its plans for phase two of the Ivanhoe Line. It may now only be possible to open three new stations (Leicester Forest East, Coalville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch) instead of the 12 originally envisaged. Also, the connection to the InterCity CrossCountry line at Burton-on-Trent may not go ahead. Sadly, the consequence of the reduction in journey opportunities is likely to be that phase two will face the same problems of disappointing revenue that have dogged phase one. Support for the Ivanhoe Line project has come from the Institute of Directors, whose local chairman Peter Small has called on the Government to provide the necessary funding. The IoD has also criticised CALTRANS, the Central Leicestershire Transport Study being carried out by the county and city councils, for a lack of vision and leadership. The IoD want integration of bus and rail services, including through-ticketing, and clear targets for reducing road traffic and pollution over the next 20 years.

Road users hinder rail scheme Railtrack wants the site for the proposed East Goscote station moved 400 metres to prevent delays to road traffic at a level crossing. However, the new site is less convenient for access from the village and doesn't have any land available for a car park. Local campaigners are doing some research to see whether the delays that would be caused by trains stopping at the more convenient site would be any greater than those currently experienced when slow freight trains pass the crossing.

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