Proposal to improve train links gains support
AMBITIONS to vastly improve rail links through Hinckley have been reaffirmed. A major transport growth document features a multi-million pound ideal to link Leicester to Coventry.
The line, which was severed in 2004, would almost halve the 25 mile journey time from around 70 minutes to 48 - currently anyone wanting to travel between the two cities must change at Nuneaton.
According to council, business and industry chiefs the reinstated route would provide an economic benefit of between £25 and £65 million a year.
As well as increasing connectivity regionally the line would unlock further trading potential to the south and north east and support the arrival of HS2.
The document entitled Prospectus for Growth features the rail plan, nicknamed LE NUCKLE, as well as other transport aspirations such as dualling of the A5 at Hinckley - a £20 million plan already sanctioned by Government and due to start in 2020 - a bypass around Leicester possibly through the borough and a new junction - 20a - on the M1.
The idea is that these projects are a “pipeline of work” which, if approved through consultation and in receipt of adequate funding, could be progressed to boost the wider Leicestershire and Warwickshire economy.
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Midlands Connect and rail strategists, SLC Rail are all involved in promoting the proposals.
County and borough councillor and transport improvement campaigner, David Bill, said: “If the proposals laid out in the Midlands Connect programme are adopted then the direct rail service between Leicester and Coventry will be restored, putting back what was lost when the West Coast Main Line was upgraded a few years ago.
“The advantages to Hinckley travellers are obvious as it could result in direct connections to Nottingham in the north and Leamington and the south-west in the other direction.
“I very much support this move as I have been in support of a direct Coventry-Nottingham service for many years. What is needed, of course are longer trains, a half-hourly connection at Hinckley and improvements to Hinckley station itself in terms of an improved shelter on the Nuneaton side and a full repair to the canopy on the Leicester side. It would not do any harm to have the booking office manned in the afternoons as well.”
LE NUCKLE could cost upwards of £51 million. Late last year the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership worked up a bid in conjunction with counterparts at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership - both seeking £15 million each with the remainder sought Network Rail.
The aim is to lobby Government to release the funds to further the scheme, although there is no guarantee cash will be forthcoming and bids are in competition with others across the country. from
Hinckley’s railway station