No return in sight for Matlock to Nottingham rail service despite passenger frustrations
East Midlands Railway (EMR) says reductions to the service between Matlock and Nottingham are expected to continue for some time, despite the mounting frustration of passengers.
Almost all direct trains on the route were cut in June, forcing travellers to change at Derby and causing problems at stops along the way.
This week, Leon Reed, a councillor in the Erewash parish of Sawley, wrote to EMR on behalf of passengers in the Long Eaton area.
He said: “The council notes with concern that we are now well into autumn without any sign of said reintroduction.
“This is despite this being characterised by your company as ‘temporarily reducing your regional timetable to protect the most used services, such as summer services to Skegness, and allow you to fix the underlying problems so you can reintroduce the full timetable.”
He added: “Not only does this fail our parishioners, who rely on your service to travel to and from work or college, it creates overcrowding on the remaining services during a global pandemic.
“It also limits accessibility to the Matlock area for people wishing to travel for leisure and tourism. The change at Derby adds time, inconvenience and a barrier for those with mobility issues.”
Coun Reed is seeking support from councils and MPs in affected areas, and has threatened a formal complaint to the rail ombudsman and Department for Transport.
An EMR spokesperson said: “We are progressing the operational delivery improvement plan put in place following the challenging performance earlier this year, after our May timetable change was affected by Covid, staff absences and the late delivery of trains.
“The decision to reduce our timetable was to ensure our customers have confidence in the services that we can provide. We share customers’ deep disappointment that our full timetable did not perform as we would hope or expect.”
They added: “A dedicated team is working hard to fix the underlying issues, but it’s important to acknowledge that there remain challenges such as staff absences and the ability to introduce additional trains. We will update stakeholders and customers as progress is made.”