East Midlands Railway defends plan to cut direct London link to Derbyshire town

Community leaders in Alfreton have criticised plans to cut the town’s direct rail link to London.

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has launched a consultation ahead of a new timetble in December 2020, which will see direct trains between Alfreton and London St Pancras abolished.

Alfreton railway station.

Alfreton railway station.

The company insists its regional services will still provide ‘regular connection opportunities for journeys to London’ but the move has come under fire from Alfreton Town Council.

Councillors say it would bring an end to almost 50 years of direct travel from Alfreton to the capital – dating back to 1973 when the station first opened.

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They also claim the overall number of services to Alfreton provided by EMR will be cut by 10 per cent, with several evening trains being lost.

Council leader, Coun Scott Walker, accused EMR of trying to ‘cover its tracks’ on its plans for Alfreton and urged the community to come together to fight the cuts.

He said: “The footfall at the station continues to grow, as does the station’s catchment area.

“The proposals put forward are short-sighted and instead of playing with the timetable, efforts would be much better invested addressing the long overdue access issues at the station where promised solutions never materialise.”

An EMR spokesperson said: “We are consulting with passengers, stakeholders and our local communities ahead of the introduction of new East Midlands Railway timetables in December 2020.

“Overall, the new timetables will provide thousands more seats, quicker journeys and a simpler and more reliable timetable for passengers right across the East Midlands network.

“In terms of Alfreton, the proposals include replacing the London via Nottingham services with EMR Regional services, providing regular connection opportunities for journeys to London.

“We are grateful for all consultation responses and we are carefully considering all feedback as part of our ongoing work to develop our new timetable for December 2020.”

The current Alfreton to London direct services travel via Nottingham with an overall journey time of about two hours and 15 minutes.