Rasen MP slams ‘breathtaking arrogance’ of rail plan

Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has condemned LNER’s proposal to leave the town off the list of stops for their reintroduced direct daily service between Cleethorpes and London.

Sir Edward Leigh MP at Market Rasen Station
Sir Edward Leigh MP at Market Rasen Station

A consultation is currently under way by rail operator LNER (London North Eastern Railway) for the May 2022 timetable proposals, which includes the direct Cleethorpes-to-London service.

A representative told Sir Edward the train used would be too long for all doors to open at Market Rasen and that the foot crossing would be blocked.

Sir Edward has for several years campaigned alongside fellow Lincolnshire MPs to revive the daily direct service between Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Market Rasen and London.

He said: “I am outraged and deeply disappointed by LNER’s reply to my consultation submission.

“I will fight all the way up to the Trains Minister and the boss of LNER.

“I urge all residents of Market Rasen’s large catchment area, including Louth, to take part in this consultation and object.

“Market Rasen makes perfect sense as a stop on the direct service to London and LNER’s objections are irrational.

“Trains stop at shorter platforms all over the country and passengers are used to making sure they are in the right carriage for their station. The old through train was longer than the platform anyhow.”

The town has previously had a direct service which was withdrawn in the early 1990s.

Sir Edward continued: “Stopping at Market Rasen makes perfect sense. The town has a large catchment area and would make it easier for people in Louth to get to London too.

“This is an excellent levelling-up opportunity for a part of Lincolnshire that is poorly served for rail links. Instead, LNER wants to pass through more than 30 miles of railway between Grimsby and Lincoln without stopping.”

Market Rasen Mayor Stephen Bunney agreed the London service would be a ‘positive’ for the town, saying it would: “no doubt benefit some of the residents in the area – especially those who work in the Metropolis!”

However, he feels there is a much wider transport issue that needs to be addressed.

He said: “I believe a thorough rethink and development of the local transport services is much needed and would have a greater impact for local residents.

“The time is right to do this with the Government’s National Bus Strategy currently out for consultation.

“A regular east/west bus link to Gainsborough – either a regular scheduled service or an extension of the current call connect service – is needed.

“Evening bus/train links with Lincoln and Gainsborough – allowing people to attend evening leisure activities, enjoy a drink and travel by public transport – are needed.

“And it needs to be an integrated timetable, that means passengers do not have prolonged waits for their connections.

“Government finance to ‘level’ up fares would bring London and urban prices to the rural provinces.

“Whilst these improvements could mean residents will leave the town, it also will allow people from outside the area to visit the area and bring trade for local businesses.”

• To find out more about the consultation and to have your say visit lner.citizenspace.com/Email us here at the Rasen Mail with your views too – [email protected]