Following the cancellation of Virgin Trains’ contract, and the take over of LNER, previously promised direct trains between Lincoln and London will now be delayed.
It was previously reported that Lincoln would get new direct trains to and from London every two hours starting in May 2019.
The 11 additional trains had been confirmed by Virgin Trains, however new operator LNER has indicated this is now in doubt with CityX receiving reports of the additional services at risk with anticipated delays until the back end of 2019 at the earliest.
County Councillor for Highways and Transportation Richard Davies told CityX:
“We’re obviously very disappointed with the news that the additional services to London won’t be live in May as anticipated; however if the delay is only a matter of months then the bigger picture is that this is a vital service for the growth of Lincoln and worth waiting for.
“Delays such as this are in part due to decades of under-investment in British Rail infrastructure and we will continue to keep the pressure on to ensure vital services are secured for Lincoln.”
Head of Visit Lincoln Lydia Rusling added: “It’s vital that the City of Lincoln Council, Lincolnshire County Council and businesses co-ordinate together to express just how vital these additional trains are, not just for Lincoln but the entire county.
“It isn’t just about the visitor economy, businesses across Lincolnshire are relying on these services to make vital connections with London.”
With Virgin Trains having their East Coast contract terminated and the newly branded London North Eastern Railway (LNER) taking its place, many businesses were concerned this would have an impact on promises made before the take-over. However, speaking to LNER, a spokesperson said the additional trains would be introduced ‘as soon as possible’.
The spokesperson said: “We have previously announced plans to introduce additional services to Lincoln in 2019.
“We are working closely with our industry partners to deliver these improvements as soon as possible.”
Angela Andrews, Chief Executive of City of Lincoln Council, told CityX: “We are still awaiting a formal announcement about the possible delay of these additional services and we are aware that discussions are ongoing.
“These new services are vital to our rapidly growing city and region.
“We welcome the commitment to deliver the extra services and any delay will have an impact on our future economic and demographic growth.”
A DfT spokesperson added: “LNER are planning to introduce these services as soon as possible.
“They are working with their partners in the rail industry to ensure that everything is ready before introducing improvements.”