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Mayor Slams Government’s ‘Betrayal’ of Bedford Rail Users as Shocking Cuts Announced

December 11, 2017 4:30 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behindSign Mayor Dave's petition against the cuts here: http://mayordave.org.uk/bedfordtrains

Mayor Dave Hodgson has slammed the Government's 'betrayal' of local rail users following cuts announced today which remove all peak-time fast intercity services to and from Bedford.

The changes will be introduced in new timetables from May 2018, and will apply for three hours per day southbound and another three hours per day northbound. They will be in place for at least two years, and are summarised as follows:

  • Southbound intercity East Midlands Trains services will no longer stop at Bedford (or Luton) between 0700 and 1000.
  • Northbound intercity East Midlands Trains services will no longer stop at Bedford (or Luton) between 1600 and 1900
  • Rail replacement buses will replace the affected services from Wellingborough to Bedford in the morning and vice versa in the evening.
  • Journey times between London and Bedford will be as much as 12 minutes slower on replacement commuter trains: You can currently travel between London and Bedford in 33 minutes, but the fastest train proposed is now 45 minutes.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "This scandalous announcement will cause huge upheaval in people's lives. It is a fundamental change which is being imposed with no explanation, let alone any consultation with rail travellers or the Council. I am demanding answers from Government, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains, and will be insisting on a reversal of this shocking loss of services.'

"With no explanation for this sudden change, it looks like an attempt to force through the plans to cut all intercity services from Bedford permanently by the back door. Either way, coming days after the announcement of yet another inflation-busting fare rise it's a disgraceful betrayal of Bedford rail users. I will fight this on their behalf in every way I can."

The changes come after numerous meetings have taken place in recent weeks between Bedford Borough Council and both Network Rail and the Department for Transport, with neither giving any indication of these devastating cuts to Bedford rail services.

The sudden announcement comes against the backdrop of Government proposals to permanently remove intercity fast train services from Bedford under the new East Midlands rail franchise. With no explanation for the change, it raises the question of whether this is a move to force through the unpopular permanent loss of intercity services at Bedford under the pretext of temporary timetable adjustments.

Sign Mayor Dave's petition against the cuts here: http://mayordave.org.uk/bedfordtrains