Memorandum by East Lindsey District Council
OVERCROWDING ON SKEGNESS TO GRANTHAM LINE
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
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.
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.
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.
Transport Development Officer
14 Not printed. Back