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EXCLUSIVE: Lincoln to London rail service could be saved by another train operator

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: June 25, 2010

Lincoln to London direct rail service could be saved by another train operator

Grand Central is in discussion to take on the direct Lincoln to London services abandoned by East Coast.

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DIRECT train services between Lincoln and London could be saved – if a new train operator throws its hat into the ring.

As reported in the Echo, East Coast will save £9 million a year by running just one daily return service to and from King's Cross from May next year, instead of the seven originally planned.

Most passengers from Lincoln will have to travel to Newark to catch onward trains.

Passengers can currently use East Midlands Trains' much slower direct service to St Pancras, which takes two hours and 50 minutes, departing Lincoln at 7.08am and leaving London at 6.30pm.

Now, it has emerged that Grand Central is interested in taking on the direct Lincoln to London services abandoned by East Coast.

Managing director Tom Clift made the revelation at a recent meeting of Railfuture Yorkshire.

Grand Central runs the Sunderland to Kings Cross and West Riding to London services as open access services.

This is when the operator receives no taxpayer support and operates services at its own commercial risk.

It would run the Lincoln to London services in the same way.

Grand Central spokeman Rupert Brennan Brown said the company would be looking at using the paths, or slots in the timetable, that East Coast is vacating.

"As I understand it, East Coast is proposing one train in the morning and one train in the evening between Lincoln and London and four return services from London to Newark," he said.

"It is Grand Central's contention that this is not the best use of these paths and that it may be possible to serve other places by extending the trains beyond Newark.

"At the moment, we are trying to get clarity as to what the final proposed timetable is.

"There was a suggestion it would cost £9 million to run the services that have now been scaled down. We are trying to find out what opportunities there might be for us as an open access operator, which is not supported by the taxpayer."

Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said timetabling decisions would be needed before a company could operate.

She said: "Various train operators, whether they be franchises or open access, will be putting bids in for paths.

"If full agreement about timetabling, given the restraints of the network, cannot be made locally, the Office of Rail Regulation will have the final say on who gets to run what services."

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    Dave40, Harrogate  |  June 25 2010, 7:12PM

    As a traveller to Lincolnshire many times rail transport is in a mess, travelling from Doncaster there is only a couple take the direct route to Lincoln via Gainsborough about an hour jurney the rest of the services take two hours via sheffield a south yorkshire detour what a jurney nothing fast. and south of Lincoln is a discrace no train for commuters wanting to travel to Spalding and Peterborough you try having a evening at Lincoln christmas market no way fron spalding. Lincoln been let down bad by rail operators East Coast operators like GNER had no intrest NXEC the same and East coast trains. come on Grand Central help out with a Lincoln to London service and provide a service via Spalding.

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    Steve, South Hykeham  |  June 25 2010, 12:24PM

    Do you get the feeling people are getting very tired of all the 'Flim Flam'. Give the reporter a spell on the bench and pay them to blow dandelions; about as much use as writing this boring story over and over again.

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    Ben, Lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 12:01PM

    I think they should just extend the London Underground a little bit more so that Lincoln has a station. It would make it a lot easier for those of us who have to travel to Central London every day. Also, I have a friend who does a very good "Mind the gap", who is currently out of work as there is, unfortunately, not much use for his skills in Lincoln. So it would decrease unemployment as well. By one, at least.

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    Ben, Lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 11:59AM

    I think they should just extend the London Underground a little bit more so that Lincoln has a station. It would make it a lot easier for those of us who have to travel to Central London every day. Also, I have a friend who does a very good "Mind the gap", who is currently out of work as there is, unfortunately, not much use for his skills in Lincoln. So it would decrease unemployment as well. By one, at least.

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    John, Lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 11:49AM

    The is a train coming into Lincoln Central known as the Gospel Train. It is stopping at Newark Northgate and all stations to Heaven. Kindly get on board before left being stranded for other routes have been derailed or cancelled...

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    Peter, Lincolnshire  |  June 25 2010, 11:39AM

    I prefer to get on the Love Train. That at least is running on time with a few more extra carriages.

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    Jas, Lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 11:27AM

    The train arriving on platform 2 is a puffing Billy and a blast from the past. The ghost train will probably get to King Cross station before anything else leaving platform whatever to London from Lincoln Central Railway Station. The bygone days at least had a timetable with trains running on time to and fro from Lincoln, to include St Marks Station. But then, that went too!

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    Stranded rail traveller..., Lincolnshire  |  June 25 2010, 11:13AM

    Will it or won't it, to be or not to be sounds familar. But like with park and ride for Lincoln, ended in failure. To attract tourists, visitors, etc, needs more umph from our councils and MP. They don't appear to have learnt any lessons from the past. Perhaps Lincoln can send for the Germans because they seem to deal with their transport problems more efficiently and effectively. They way which England is playing footie by pat a cake, the score could be 3 to the Germans and 1 to the English. If England is kicked out of the World Cup, they should be given a forfeit. The football team for Lincoln City could be sent on holiday for a season. The English team can play for Lincoln. On the other hand, don't, for they might start losing!

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    lynn, lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 9:58AM

    Love your optimism Scooby, I think I'll hide behind the sofa for this match.

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    Scooby, Lincoln  |  June 25 2010, 8:38AM

    Along the track a train came puffing England 4 Germany nuffing.

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