Could East Midlands Airport be about to get its “own” railway station?
Airport authorities are prepared to sink £2.5 million of their own cash into improving the East Midlands Parkway halt – just two miles from the airport. It has rail links to Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and London.
The Castle Donington airport wants to see new services, improved frequencies and better time-tabling at parkway.
It is also proposing changing the name of the station to East Midlands Airport Parkway.
The money would be handed to whoever takes on the new East Midlands rail franchise, which is currently run by Stagecoach-owned East Midland Trains.
The current franchise is due run until March, 2019. Three firms have pre-qualified to run the new franchise – Stagecoach, Arriva Rail East Midlands and First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail.
The airport also wants to see the name of the station change to East Midlands Airport Parkway
At present, East Midlands Parkway is currently left without a service for 45 minutes of every hour and both of its hourly London services leave within seven minutes of each other.
Airport bosses are calling for new links to areas such as Coventry, Nuneaton and Birmingham, as well as more frequent services to Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.
In return, they are offering to implement a “rail enhancement package” of £2.5 million.
Airport managing director Andy Cliffe said: “Over the course of the next East Midlands rail franchise, the airport will double the amount of people flying from here, triple the amount of cargo we handle and have three times more people working onsite.
East Midlands Airport managing director Andy Cliffe
“To ensure that people can access these opportunities, we need better rail links to the airport.
“The Department for Transport has made it clear in their consultation documents that they are committed to improving links to the airport and we have announced a £2.5 million rail enhancement package to show how committed we are to these improvements, too.
“The package will deliver improved customer service, direct links between the station and our terminal, provide a better service for our local community and help people access the thousands of jobs we will create during this franchise.”
A spokesman for East Midlands Councils (EMC) said it would welcome the move, assuming it did not adversely affect current services.
East Midlands Airport has pledged to improve links between the airport and the station if the changes are made
He said: “EMC has been concerned about the ‘bunching’ of services at East Midlands Parkway for some time and is very supportive efforts to improve public transport access to East Midlands Airport – as long the this does not undermine rail connectivity to surrounding urban areas.
“The airport’s financial commitment to improving rail access is particularly welcome.”
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are determined to deliver more of the services people want and expect the next East Midlands franchise to deliver more comfortable and faster journeys, with more seats for passengers.
“We are keen that passengers, local councils and anyone with an interest in the route takes the opportunity to shape the future of the service.
“That is why we are consulting on all elements of the franchise, including access to airports. The consultation will run until October 11.”
Source: Derby Telegraph