Members of Newark Business Club Action Group have drawn up a response on the recent East Midlands rail franchise consultation to drive development and steer future planning.
The 58-page document ‘East Midlands Rail Franchise: Objectives for Nottingham – Lincoln Line’ was submitted on behalf of Newark Business Club, which represents 1000 members, to the East Midlands Consultation Co-ordinator of the Department for Transport on 19th 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 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 2tph the minimum frequency on routes connecting key cities,
• 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.
“We also consider the Government’s decision not to electrify the Midland Main Line as short-sighted and anti-business. We urge them to reconsider the issues as a matter of urgency.”