Lincoln to Nottingham: Funding issues hit 'worst train line' appeal

Passengers at Lincoln Station
Image caption Campaigners say the route has seen a marked reduction in the number of trains over the past decade

The government has said local authorities should fund improvements to a train service claimed by campaigners to be "one of the worst in the UK".

Journey times between Lincoln and Nottingham are now slower than they were 100 years ago, according to campaign group Rail Fair.

It has called on the government to fund upgrade work on the line.

East Midlands Trains, which currently runs the route, said additional funding was needed to improve journey times.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "We have worked hard to improve the service between Nottingham and Lincoln and have provided our passengers with refurbished trains and an additional evening service.

She added: "We are currently using all of the trains made available by the government for the East Midlands Trains franchise to deliver the maximum possible capacity across our network.

"The faster journey times and increase in capacity needed for the Nottingham to Lincoln route would need additional carriages and additional funding and this can only be made possible through a change to the existing franchise."

In March, this was extended to run until October 2017.

Earlier this year, Rail Fair - which claims the line is the "worst in the UK" - started a petition calling for the government to take action over proposals, which include additional services and signalling work to allow trains to travel faster.

It said reducing journey times and increasing capacity would provide real benefits for both cities.

Business organisations and councils want an extra two trains per hour between the stations.

The Department of Transport has confirmed it was in talks with Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire county councils.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: "It is for local authorities to take the lead in identifying and funding service improvements that primarily address local needs.

"We have had a number of discussions with officers from both Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire County Council and Newark Business Club to assist them in the development of business cases."

But Chris Briggs, head of transport at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We urge the government strongly to give Lincoln due consideration when they talk about improving rail."

He added: "It would cost about £2.1m to get it up and running and Lincolnshire County Council would need to find about £750,000.

"That's a lot of money in a time of austerity."

However, he added that the council was considering the value of the scheme and would possibly consider making funding available if it proved worthwhile.

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