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Trains in Lincolnshire

October 13, 2013 12:16 PM
By Barry Coward President Gainsborough Liberal Democrats
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

TrainLiberal Democrat run Gainsborough Town Council invited Network Rail to address them on improvements being made to one of our railway lines that runs south to North through Lincolnshire.

On October 9th Network Rail engineers made a presentation to Gainsborough Town Council on the up grading of the line that passes through Lea Road station, known as the GN/GE Joint line.

The Line from Peterborough to Doncaster via Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln and Gainsborough is being upgraded for the first time since the 1880s to be able to take modern freight trains away from the East Coast Main Line . Freight trains run at a maximum of 75 mph on the main line while passenger trains can reach speeds of 125 mph. Diverting freight trains to our line will enable more passenger trains to run direct from London to the North East.

Work totalling £140 million, now six months behind schedule due to the Hatfield land slip, includes replacing the Victorian signalling and manual level crossings with automated equipment controlled from Lincoln, improvements to drainage and track bed before new continuous welded rail is laid, strengthening and replacement of bridges to take heavier freight trains, raising of over bridges to allow double deck container trains to pass and to permit electrification in the future, and improvements to Ruskington and Metheringham stations. The Sleaford loop line, disused for the past 25 years, will be reinstated and likewise the disused oil sidings at Gainsborough will be connected to the upgraded line.

Running times from Peterborough to Doncaster will be reduced by 15 minutes and the new track will allow a smoother ride. There will be increased capacity on the line allowing two more trains per hour to be run. Whether these are passenger or freight is not Network Rail's responsibility it will be for train operators to agree the use of these paths. Work in Gainsborough includes upgrading the bridge at Summersgang Lane. This will require a 56 hour possession of the line by engineers and Network Rail are seeking agreement with train operators to commence this on January 2nd, 2014. The line will be closed for six weekends thereafter to allow new track to be laid.

Discussion following the presentation centred on the consequences of diverting freight away from the mail line to the GN/GE Joint line. The logistics industry has been quick to grasp the opportunity of planning a "food hub" at Spalding where Lincolnshire produce can be transferred to rail for its onward journey and incoming fruit from Spain can be delivered to the hub for distribution across the area. This makes more effective use of local hauliers trucks which will have loads in both directions. Network Rail are in discussions with the logistics industry for some form of distribution hub using Lea Road oil sidings for engineering raw materials inward and finished products outwards.

Gainsborough Town Council have been invited to join a local communities committee set up by Network Rail for the GN/GE Joint line. Regards Barry Coward