Alfreton Station East Midlands Railway meeting press release

At its meeting on January 28th 2020, Alfreton Town Councillors met with representatives from East Midlands Railways (EMR) as part of their ongoing campaign to protect direct services from Alfreton to London and provide long overdue step free access at the station.

 

In respect to the December 2020 proposal to abolish direct services to the capital, the meeting heard how the timing of the franchise award had compressed the preparation of the consultation process and EMR acknowledged that this process could have been much better. The meeting also heard how operational needs arising from fleet changes and reductions in high speed trains had forced the proposed changes, which were as a result of the recent franchise award.

 

The meeting received a letter from the Secretary of State for Transport noting that timetable proposals were a matter for EMR, although this was contradicted at the meeting where a number of potential suggestions from members to retain the services to London were dismissed due to timetable requirements set by the Minister’s Department. In addition to raising serious concerns around inadequate consultation process, members raised issues around economic and environmental impacts, the challenges faced in changing trains at Nottingham, premium fares via Chesterfield and anticipated loss of evening services from Nottingham.

 

There was some positive news in respect to the late evening services from Nottingham, where EMR committed to replacing the removed London services with local services, details which were not in the consultation document, or seemingly on offer, as recently as November.

 

Councillor Scott Walker Leader of the Council drew the debate to a close by summarising the discussions and commented that in his near twenty years’ service on the Council, that he could not recall a matter in which: MP’s, the County, Borough and Town and Parish Councils were all agreed on. He urged EMR to find a way to retain the London services and recognise not only the views on the civic leaders, but the near 4000 people who had signed both electronic and paper petitions.

 

After concluding discussions around the timetable changes, attention moved the long-promised access improvements to platform 2. Members were reminded of an Equality Act action from a local family, which the Town Council helped instigate some years ago. They also heard of comments via social media of rail user’s concerns that the matter of access has taken too long to resolve.

 

The meeting heard that one of the rail organisations had denied any liability and how legal papers had gone astray. An EMR representative described parts of the process as appalling and that as far as EMR is concerned, he would ensure that the matter is put in the appropriate hands.

 

Councillor Scott Walker commented that ‘it’s simply not acceptable that a station with footfall in excess of three hundred thousand people per year does not have ‘Access for All ‘ to both platforms ‘

and members generally echoed their frustrations that the bridge access dilemma has gone on for far too long.

 

In proposing that the Town Council should continue its opposition to the timetable changes and continue to campaign to ensure ‘Access for All’ at the Station Councillor Scott Walker said that ‘this  highlights the failings in the franchise system, where there is seemingly a merry-go-round between Ministers, Network Rail and Train Operators.’

 

Alfreton Train Station

As part of Alfreton Town Councils campaign to improve facilities and access at the Town’s station, which has been ongoing for more than 25 years, representatives from East Midlands Trains and the Derbyshire Law Centre attended a recent Town Council meeting.

The meeting heard about recent works at the station including security and toilet upgrades and details of an extension to the current Franchise ahead of a formal announcement of a new East Midlands Railway Franchise, which is now expected in April. A variety of topics were raised by Councillors, with the discussions dominated by car parking and access challenges. Although the meeting was constructive, members were left frustrated with the limited information about the long-delayed access improvement project, where it is expected that clearer information on funding in Network Rails Control Period 6 would be available in April. It was also noted that the ongoing short extensions of the current Franchise was limiting opportunity to compete more substantial works to the car park where it was agreed a full review was required by the new Franchisee.

An update on a Discrimination claim, which had been initiated by the Town Council was provided by the Derbyshire Law Centre, who confirmed the final stages of the claim where being concluded ahead of the case being heard in court.

Finally, members expressed concern that fares to London via Chesterfield were more expensive than via Nottingham, which felt like a double whammy for less able passengers that had to travel that route due to the access restrictions to south bound services.

The meeting resolved to write to the Transport Minister and the local MP’s with constituents likely to use Alfreton Station, pressing for prioritisation of the access work. A further meeting is to be held with East Midlands Trains once the new Franchise has been awarded and funding for Control Period 6 confirmed. East Midlands Trains agreed to undertake urgent investigate concerns with the structure of the current bridge, clarity of disabled parking provision and visibility of the ticket machine in direct sunlight.

 

 

Christmas Elf Competition

The Town Council have run a “Christmas Elf Competition” in conjunction with their lights switch on, for children to spot 14 Elves in businesses windows around the town.

The competition Winners have now been drawn and will be contacted directly, well done to everyone that took part!

 

Alfreton gets lit up for Christmas!

The Town of Alfreton burst into light at 5pm last Saturday when the Town Mayor, Councillor Mary Kerry, assisted by local children, turned on the Town’s Christmas lights.

The event was well attended by a large number of adults and children who packed the area around Alfreton House. They had been entertained throughout the day by a range of musicians, street entertainers, fair ground rides and of course dear old Santa.

The event also gave the opportunity for local charities to raise around £2,000 for good causes. Local producers and businesses also had the opportunity to showcase their wares.

Councillor Gail Dolman, the event organiser said “Of course an event like this cannot go ahead without the support of local businesses and shops. I would like to thank them all for their generosity particularly our support from Brandon Tool Hire, Keycraft, Alfreton Rotary Club and the many shops and businesses who generously provided raffle prizes”.

Councillor Mary Kerry, the Town Mayor said “I was thrilled to perform the switch on and pleased to see the excitement for Christmas from the many children and also the adults who helped with the Christmas countdown. I know that Christmas is a time for giving but once again Alfreton people displayed their warmth and generosity with spontaneous gifts and food parcels as well as cash for my chosen charity for this year, Alfreton Foodbank”

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