East Midlands Trains to Bedford and Luton WILL resume after 2020, says minister

PUBLISHED: 14:04 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 21 May 2018

Bim Afolami. Photo released under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence.

Bim Afolami. Photo released under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence.

Archant

East Midlands Trains will resume peak-time services at Bedford and Luton after 2020, a minister has said.

Department for Transport minister Jo Johnson was answering a question from Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami about improvements to the Midland Main Line, which has meant East Midlands Trains stopped their peak-time services calling at the two stations and Thameslink has to plug the gap in peak-time services.

This in turn has disrupted Thameslink services calling at Harpenden and provoked an outcry among passengers.

Mr Afolami asked: “Whether improvements to infrastructure and the capacity for East Midlands Trains will be completed in 2020 and what steps the department is taking to prevent delays to services serving stations along that route post-2020?”

To which Mr Johnson responded: “We are investing in the biggest upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870. This infrastructure upgrade will create capacity for up to 50 per cent more seats in the peak into London St Pancras.

“We continue to work closely with Network Rail on the upgrade, and based on their plans and projections at this time, delivery is expected in 2020.

“We will shortly be announcing the Invitation to Tender for the next East Midlands franchise, which will set out how we want to see the next operator make best use of this additional capacity.

“For journeys between Corby and London, the consultation on the next East Midlands franchise proposed that passengers benefit from a new and dedicated express service. From 2020, it was proposed that the trains would be fast, like today, but also longer, with more seats.

“This would enable the next operator of the East Midlands franchise to resume peak-time services at Bedford and Luton.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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