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Major changes in new East Midlands Railway timetable from May

April 21, 2021 4:00 PM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Bedford StationA new East Midlands Railway timetable from May has been published, and it includes a number of major changes to the services offered over the last three years. These include the long-awaited return of peak-time services to London and the end of rail replacement buses between Wellingborough and Bedford, which have been in place in the morning peak time since 2018. However, the new services also confirm the loss of almost all direct services between Bedford and destinations north of Kettering, with services on the new electric line terminating at Corby.

Rail users wanting to travel north from Bedford to Leicester or Nottingham, for example, will now need to change at Kettering in almost all cases other than a couple of morning peak time services.

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against the loss of intercity services since the Conservative Government decided to strip Bedford of its historic place on the intercity rail network, and you can sign the petition for their restoration at www.bedfordlibdems.org.uk/rail

Commenting on the new timetable, Councillor Michael Headley said "The return of peak-time faster services to London is of course good news and will be a relief to many. Meanwhile the notorious rail replacement buses between Wellingborough and Bedford obviously won't be missed by anyone. It was frankly a scandal that they were imposed on us for three years. However, the timetables also confirm that the Conservative Government's decision to strip Bedford of intercity services is now coming into effect. At a time when we need improved connectivity, instead the government is delivering a downgrade for Bedford station. This will mean inconvenience for leisure and business travellers alike, and is another blow to local rail users who have been let down repeatedly in recent years. We'll keep fighting for Bedford's return to its rightful status as an intercity station which maximises its potential as a key interchange, as set out in our Rail Strategy for Bedford."

In addition to the loss of almost all intercity services, many Bedford rail users will miss being able to travel with their bicycle, and the speed of the previous services which in many cases were 5-10 minutes faster to and from London.

Key features of the new timetable commencing on May 16th, which can be found here (see Bedford services from page 12), include:

  • Reintroduced EMR peak time services to and from London St Pancras.
  • Consistent timetable from 06:00 to 23:15 with services in both directions every 30 minutes.
  • Journeys to and from London St Pancras will take approximately 41 - 44 minutes.
  • Peak time bus between Wellingborough and Bedford replaced by train services
  • A very limited EMR Intercity service will provide direct journeys to and from Nottingham, with services to Nottingham at 06:37 and 07:11, and one direct train back, departing Nottingham at 16:12.
  • Passengers travelling to Market Harborough, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway, Beeston and Nottingham at other times will need to change onto EMR Intercity services at Kettering. Interchange time is typically under 10 minutes.
  • Passengers travelling to Long Eaton, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield will also need to additionally change to at Leicester
  • Intercity services in both directions will call at Bedford on Sunday mornings, with the electric service to Corby only later on.

You can read Bedford Borough Council's Rail Strategy for Bedford at https://www.bedford.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/strategies-and-projects/