Mayor Dave slates East Midlands Trains

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford since 2009, has this week condemned the new timetable changes on East Midlands Trains;

“‘It sucks’. That was the verdict of a commuter I spoke to at 7:30 this morning getting off a delayed rail replacement bus, on the first day of the loss of peak-time intercity trains from Bedford. These buses are a testament to the Government’s utter betrayal of Bedford over the new rail timetables.

While the Government boasts of ‘modernisation’, commuters I spoke to this morning are dreading theprospect of at least two and a half years of rail replacement buses. And commuters to London have lost fast intercity trains, and will get no discount on the thousands they spend on their season tickets.

Dave was interviewed live for Anglia TV about how the changes, which see peak-time intercity services to London in the morning and from London in the evening removed from Bedford altogether, are letting down Bedford rail users. Dave also recorded a video for his own Facebook page, which you can see here.

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4 Comments

  • Just to add to this piece, so as to avoid wrong impressions being drawn. Dave Hodgson (and others) was very vocal back in December 2017 when the new “improved” timwtable was first announced. So this is simply Dave doing a follow-up.

    Ref: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-42324376
    https://eastlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2017/1246195/mayor-slams-government-s-betrayal-of-bedford-rail-users-as-shocking-cuts-announced

    Whilst not directly impacted by the changes to trains stopping at Bedford, the new timetable also provides me with a degraded service: ‘fast’ trains to London 1:15 instead of 0:56 and much reduced frequency. Additionally, there have been negative service changes on the WCML.

  • nvelope2003 29th May '18 - 8:50pm

    All change involves a loss to some people even when the majority benefit.

  • @nvelope2003 – whilst I agree, I think you have missed the point of Dave’s complaint.

    Fundamentally, the change in service through Bedford for the next two years is to enable firstly the reinstatement of the four tracks between Bedford and Kettering and secondly the electrification of the Corby-Bedford line. [Further details here: https://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/train-times/20th-May-2018/All-the-details/ ]

    The expectation is that speed restrictions will apply between Kettering (well a few miles north) and Bedford, as services pass through the work area, hence some reduction in service.

    All very much to be expected, only the new timetable was announced as being an improvement on the existing timetable – attention being drawn to specific trains that will be faster than previously timetabled, however the majority will see a service reduction. Also for some reason the decision has been taken to effectively separate Thameslink (Bedford to London) and Midland Mainline (Services passing through Bedford to London), making it difficult to travel say Nottingham to Bedford or Leicester to Luton Airport, during peak periods. These journeys now being reliant on the rail replacement bus, which just happens to use roads that even outside of peak periods can be slow and congested. So the totally predictable problems (with the bus) that Dave is highlighting is something that could have been avoided, by better planning.

  • Good on Mr Hodgson. It’s a shame that we seem to ignore transport across much of the rest of the UK and as a party nationally.

    The new timetable implementation has been a shambles in its first week. There’s a report on bbc news today which slams the UK rail network as failing – yet we appear to be silent. In Wales, we don’t even have a spokesperson for transport, yet we’ve got 2 separate ones for rural affairs, which is just mindboggling.

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