The current Midland Mainline train franchise serving our area is coming to an end in 2019 and the Government is now considering how to structure future rail services on the line from after that date.
As part of that, a consultation is being run about how rail passengers and local people would like the service to run in the future. They have published a consultation document which can found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fi….
The Government has already confirmed that the new franchise will benefit from newer trains, greater capacity, additional seats and reduced journey times. You can find out more on pages 21 and 22.
They have also, however, asked a number of questions about many issues - how to configure future services, how to improve facilities and stations, how to improve airport connectivity, how to improve security and safety and how to improve passenger satisfaction. If you have views on any of these, get involved in the consultation and let the Government know about how you think the line should be improved.
For commuters from Dronfield and Chesterfield over the Pennines, this consultation is particularly important. There is an option that the current Liverpool - Norwich service could be split at either Nottingham or Sheffield, with parts of the service moved to other operators. For those crossing the Pennines, if the split is at Sheffield it may see the end of direct services from our area to Manchester and Liverpool. This is obviously something to be regretted so, if this affects you, make sure you get involved!
The consultation runs until 11 October 2017 and you can have your say online (bit.ly/east-midlands-consultation), by email: EastMidlandsfranchise2017@dft.gsi.gov.uk or in writing: East Midlands Consultation Co-ordinator Department for Transport 2/21 Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR.
Update: The consultation has now closed and we are awaiting the response from the Department for Transport.