Select Committee on Transport Written Evidence

Memorandum by East Lindsey District Council (OPT 24)


  I am writing to inform the Transport Select Committee on the rail travel experiences of our district's residents and visitors as part of the Investigation into Rail Overcrowding.

  The East Lindsey district is part of the county of Lincolnshire and covers an area of 680 square miles which is larger than some English counties. The district is rural and does not have a single major urban centre; instead it has a number of small market towns serving numerous scattered villages and small hamlets. Transport is a major issue for the district and my post was set up to tackle the lack of transport and to work with Lincolnshire County Council to improve services. The Skegness to Nottingham rail line is the only line serving this district. It is therefore very important to the district's economy and tourism industry.

  The rail line is very important as it enables visitors and residents alike to access services in the town of Skegness, which is the district's principal coastal resort. Overcrowding on this line has been a major problem for a number of years. Central Trains who operate the line have now had a number of years of operation experience however they are still unable to match capacity to passenger need. A local rail Association SELTA (South East Lincolnshire Transport Association) collect data on passenger loading and this clearly shows the times when there is severe overcrowding. I have enclosed some of their data.[14]

  East Lindsey District Council have taken up the issue of overcrowding and met in September with Central Trains, Lincolnshire County Council and our neighbouring district council, Boston Borough Council to discuss ways that the overcrowding could be resolved. Central Trains clearly stated that they have no funding to tackle the overcrowding. There main concern is for commuter travel in Birmingham and they ensure all their spare carriages are used on these services. Services in Lincolnshire are therefore penalised and passengers endure unpleasant journeys. The meeting concluded that the parties involved would make a bid to the Strategic Rail Authority's Rail Passenger Partnership fund to provide extra carriages on overcrowded services. The parties have no experience of putting these bids together so the authorities are paying for the services of a consultant to prepare the bid. This clearly shows the interest by the councils in improving the services and the need for the service in this rural area. The rail service enables holidaymakers to visit Skegness, without this rail line I do believe that the district and Skegness would suffer greatly as there is no other direct transport service into the district to enable people to visit the resort. The rail services are also relied on by local schools and by residents to access local services in Skegness and as a connection to rail services further afield.

  The Strategic Rail Authority's main concerns are now for freight services, InterCity and South East Services. This authority fears for the future of rural rail services and feel that there should be more investment in these services to enable our residents to have more transport choice and enable them to access basic services. There is a demand for rail services in Lincolnshire with many residents having no choice but to suffer with overcrowding, as they have no other transport alternative. I have enclosed some evidence of the overcrowding issue.[15] Much of the evidence is anecdotal as letters of complaint are sent to Central Trains direct however the press articles and passenger loading figures will give a flavour of the extent of the problem.

Allyson Ingamells

Transport Development Officer

December 2002

14   Not printed. Back

15   Ibid. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 5 November 2003