Business Club calls for major improvements to ail Services

Members of Newark Business Club Action Group have drawn up a response to the recent East Midlands rail franchise consultation to drive development and steer future planning.

The 58-page document, that specifically identifies the need for faster journey times by rail from Newark to cities in the Midlands by improving the train service from Newark Castle, was submitted on behalf of Newark Business Club to the Department for Transport on 28th September.

Amy Codd, Chair of Newark Business Club, said: “Good transport links are imperative for sustained business growth in the area, both for new and established businesses. Newark has plenty to offer businesses and those wishing to work in and around the town, but transport links need to improve to keep up with those developments.”

The Action Group, which represents over 1000 members of Newark Business Club, has been working closely with transport advisor Bob Poynter to draw up a list of key objectives for the next franchise. These include:

  • deliver economic, financial, social and economic benefits across the East Midlands by improving connectivity,
  • contribute towards accelerating housing and job growth and the associated tax take,
  • drive a modal shift in journeys from road to rail,
  • make a significant contribution towards the Government’s objective to improve air quality especially in Derby and the four Air Quality Management Areas served by the Midland Main Line where there are dangers to human health.

James Fountain, Chair of the Newark Business Club Action Group, said: “Our vision is to help create a dynamic economic environment that will make Newark a vibrant and rewarding market town to live, work and visit.

“We welcome the comprehensive list of options that the Government has set out for consultation but strongly urge them to significantly increase the share of the expenditure spent on railways in the East Midlands.”

James, Bob and the rest of the Action Group have put some thought into how to deliver the key objectives, these include:

  • faster journey times with high performance trains, infrastructure improvements, and alterations to service patterns,
  • increased service frequencies with two trains per hour the minimum frequency on routes connecting Newark with key cities,
  • restoration of through trains from Lincoln to Derby and Birmingham and from Newark to Birmingham,
  • an increase in rolling stock to eliminate overcrowding,
  • comfortable trains with adequate seating that encourage people to transfer from their cars,
  • a simple ticketing system that provides good value for money.

James concluded: “The Government should apply the lessons from the Chiltern Line and require bidders for the East Midlands franchise to commit to funding new trains and infrastructure enhancements in return for a longer franchise.”