Weekday Train Services: Kettering

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons on 13th June 2019.

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Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

What estimate he has made of the number of weekday train services northbound from Kettering on the main line under the (a) existing and (b) new train franchise.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Currently, on average, two East Midlands trains per hour call at Kettering northbound on weekdays, with one going to Corby and one to Nottingham. From December 2020, double the number of trains will call at Kettering: two will be on a dedicated St Pancras to Corby service and two will be on the long-distance Nottingham service.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

Kettering is a well-used, popular station with rising passenger numbers. Will the Minister confirm when electrification will arrive at Kettering and what other benefits to passengers there will be from the new train franchise?

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

The roll-out of the midland main line electrification is obviously a key project, and I will keep the House posted on its progress. I can inform my hon. Friend that the station will get many new benefits from the East Midlands franchise. They will include station wi-fi, LED lighting and help points. There will be improved lay-out and a bus interchange, a multimodal customer information system, drinking water fountains, customer lounges, refurbished toilets, new caf├ęs, customer waiting areas, a third-party west side station entrance development, 60 new secure cycle spaces, six electric vehicle charging points, ANPR car park technology, 200 additional car park spaces and air quality monitors. Basically, it is all happening at Kettering station.

Photo of Patricia Gibson Patricia Gibson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Consumer Affairs)

There is an issue that will, I am sure, have great importance for the people of Kettering, as it will for the people of Scotland. Fifty four per cent of delays and cancellations in Scotland are down to issues with Network Rail, and I am sure that the people of Kettering have a similar story to tell. Given that the respected think-tank Reform Scotland has said that the devolution of Network Rail to Holyrood would be a major step forward in integrating the Scottish transport network, why does the Minister not agree with Reform Scotland?

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

That was a very entrepreneurial link, Mr Speaker. As soon as the Scottish Government start using the powers that they have, they will be more credible when they ask for more.