25 April 2008

1 year ahead of schedule

It's not commonplace that planned improvements to services in the rail industry are brought forward by a year, but that's exactly what National Express's East Coast rail franchise says is "very likely" for its planned direct London-Lincoln train service.

Forming part of NatEx's bid for the East Coast Main Line franchise last year, which they successfully won and commenced last December, they planned to operate direct train services to Harrogate and Lincoln to an hourly frequency from King's Cross, bifurcating at Newark with alternate journeys to each ultimate destination to a 2 hour frequency. This was to commence in December 2010, though NatEx now consider it very likely that this could commence from December 2009.

Trains will depart King's Cross at 04 minutes past each hour and plan to call at most stops between there and the point of divergence at Newark. Not only that but NatEx have proposed a daily extension beyond Lincoln to Grimsby and Cleethorpes to commence from 2015 at the very latest. There have never been so many proposed direct London train services between the two North-East Lincolnshire towns as in the past two weeks, with Grand Union claiming to be looking into something similar.

NatEx have outlined their plans to improve upon the timetable and frequencies they promised in their bid for the East Coast Main Line franchise in a letter to the Head of Track Access at the Office of Rail Regulation. It can be viewed by clicking here. The top of page 5 details the potential to operate services beyond Lincoln.