Pro­posal to im­prove train links gains sup­port

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - KAREN HAM­BRIDGE karen.ham­bridge@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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