Council pledges to build business case for London rail link
HEADING TO THE HUMBER? Grand Central has plans for a South Bank Service.
By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 15 Feb 2018
A direct rail link between northern Lincolnshire and London has moved a significant step closer to becoming a reality after council bosses pledged to help put together a business case for the scheme.
North Lincolnshire Council is to work with rail operator Grand Central on proposals for the service, which could start running by 2020.
If the link goes ahead, the council says it could provide a major boost to the local economy, as well as helping to increase tourism and creating more jobs.
Grand Central runs rail services from London to Sunderland and Bradford and announced in December that it was planning to bid to add a South Humber Bank service.
That plan, which would be subject to approval from rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road, would see trains run from London to Doncaster before splitting, with some carriages continuing to travel on to Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Habrough, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.
Now, after a meeting with Grand Central officials in York, council leader Rob Waltham pledged his support for the application and committed to making representations to the Department of Transport in support of the service.
And he said the group, which included the company's managing director Richard McClean and commercial and customer policy director Louise Blyth, had also discussed the potential for adding a further North Lincolnshire stop for the service at Crowle.
Mr Waltham said: "Direct trains from North Lincolnshire to London would provide a significant boost to our local economy.
"North Lincolnshire already
enjoys great rail connectivity with northern cities and to the south via Doncaster. But a direct London service would give another reason for businesses to set up or relocate here.
"It would also provide a boost to local tourism, with even easier access to the rest of the country. Ultimately, it will create jobs for local people."
Mr Waltham said he was confident the plans would have the best possible business case to allow the service to be introduced.
He said: "We are going to deploy all our resources to build the best case to submit to the regulator, hopefully for approval in 2019.
"I am confident the absolute best case will be put forward and there is a good case for it to happen."
And he said the council would continue to work with Grand Central to help maximise the potential a link with the capital could bring to North Lincolnshire.
He said: "To help support the service, the council has committed to work on improving car parking at train stations at any additional station stops.
"We're keen to see Crowle and Barnetby included in the plans and we will be working closely with Grand Central to see how we could do this to help us maximise the potential this link will have for our area."
Railway passengers from North Lincolnshire currently have to change trains at Doncaster to continue journeys to London.