Monday, 25 January 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Gillian Merron's Campaign Heads Off The Tracks

Ms Gillian Merron MP, Labour (Lincoln), Minister of State for Public Health, has suffered a set-back as her campaign has gone off the rails with news that the arrival of a new, faster, direct rail link between Lincoln and London will be six months late.

The Government's transport secretary Lord Andrew Adonis this week announced a proposed new timetable for quicker services along the East Coast Main Line to run from May 2011 into London King's Cross – including from Lincoln. Seven trains a day were due to run each way between Lincoln and the capital from December 2010 at two-hourly intervals. However, Ms Merron's office has now confirmed that a six-month delay will prevent the service beginning on schedule. Ms Merron's office blamed 'problematic timetable negotiations between train companies'.

Chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of Railfuture, Mr. David Harby, has said the wait is disappointing.
"I am confident the Department for Transport, the train operators and Network Rail really are on line to do it.
"What I am not confident about is the effect of any future Treasury cuts where perhaps places like Lincoln may get chopped off."

Lord Adonis and Ms Merron have given their assurances that the service will arrive in May 2011.

Ms Merron said:
"I can give a categorical assurance that a Labour Government will deliver, in May next year, the direct and regular train service between Lincoln and London, which I have long campaigned for."
The King's Cross service will be a quicker alternative – taking one hour fifty-seven minutes – to the direct train link provided by East Midlands Trains, which goes to St. Pancras via Nottingham and takes two hours and fifty minutes, introduced in December 2008.

Ms Merron will not be pleased at this delay, her literature has featured heavily with stories about Lincoln-London train services and provides a much needed open-goal for her opponent Mr. Karl McCartney, Conservative.

Her parliamentary report from 2008 led with the title 'Lincoln to London Full Steam Ahead'.

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