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Railwatch 080 - July 1999

East Midlands

By Anthony Kay

Privatisation assessed The break-up of BR was part of a worldwide trend, Richard Hope told the branch AGM on 6 March. But Mr Hope, consulting editor of Railway Gazette International, said Government policy is now emphasising cooperation and consolidation rather than competition. His talk entitled Pulling the Privatised Railway Together came less than two weeks after John Prescott's rail summit.

Midland main line The introduction of Turbostar trains with the start of the summer timetable sees MML services to some stations being more than doubled, with four trains an hour from Leicester to St Pancras. However, not everyone is happy. Commuters from Market Harborough have complained that their peak-hour trains are slower than they used to be. There have also been no improvements to late-night services. For instance, the last weekday MML departure from Sheffield to Loughborough and beyond is at 20.08.

Meeting Midland Mainline At a meeting on 6 March representatives of the various RDS branches along the MML route met with the company's managing director Brian Burdsall. Matters discussed included the new timetable and the addition of staff at intermediate stations, for instance allowing two ticket windows to be open at Market Harborough. Trials of the Turbostar units have indicated a high level of passenger satisfaction, despite the limited leg-room. Earlier reports that cycles would be banned on Turbostars have proved unfounded, as a rack for cycles will be provided in the wheelchair space and will be available on most off-peak Turbostars when no wheelchair users have booked the space. MML acknowledge the poor condition of the track, which Railtrack claim that they will rectify by 2001. Mr Burdsall rejected the idea of MML reviving the Nottingham-Glasgow service (via Settle-Carlisle) and of restoring a Derby-Manchester service via Matlock and Buxton.

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