UTTOXETER’S MP remains confident the much-maligned rail service through the town will be improved – despite seemingly missing out on major investment.
Network Rail yesterday unveiled £37.5bn plans to develop the UK’s railway infrastructure over the next five years.
The plans include the electrification of the Midland Mainline, platform extensions on the same line to allow for longer trains and the remodelling of the line at Derby.
However, the Stoke to Derby line which Uttoxeter Railway Station sits on is not mentioned in the investment plans, despite it being well-documented that the line is in desperate need of longer trains and electrification to improve services.
Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths, though, told the Advertiser he is confident improvements on the Stoke to Derby line talked about for 2015 are still going ahead, and could even start sooner.
He said: “It is fantastic that the government are investing so heavily in improvements to the railway infrastructure but it is important that Uttoxeter is not left behind in those upgrades.
“Improvements are due to begin on the Stoke to Derby line in 2015 and I wrote to the Minister for Transport to see if there was a possibility of bringing that forward and he has said he will investigate whether that is a possibility.
“I am encouraged that the minister has agreed to look again at Uttoxeter and what can be done to bring forward the proposed improvements to the quality of the services.”
Mr Griffiths wrote to the Minister for Transport Simon Burns about capacity and overcrowding at Uttoxeter Railway Station after numerous incidents, particularly on race days.
In Mr Burns’ response he told Uttoxeter’s MP that he had spoken to operator East Midlands Trains (EMT) about the issues on the line.
He said: “EMT has told my officials that it monitors overcrowding on all its routes and has identified problems on the Crewe/Derby route.
“EMT has therefore now strengthened a Friday circuit on this route to try and address overcrowding problems at Derby in the evening peak.
“EMT have assured my officials that it will address short-term issues such as racing at Uttoxeter by strengthening specific trains under short-term plan arrangements.
“The operator believes there is also some potential of gaining outside funding for additional rolling stock but this is very much a work in progress and depends on that funding being available.
“In relation to your query about whether there is any possibility of having the upgrade of the section of line between Stoke and Derby brought forward, I have asked my officials to look into this further and write back to you.”