Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, and Charles Elphicke, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for St Albans, met top managers from Railtrack and Union Railways to discuss plans affecting services from our constituencies to Kings Cross.

    Peter Lilley said: “We called the meeting because we were concerned that plans to link St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link will involve closing the Thameslink line for 6 to 9 months in 2 to 3 years time. This could severely inconvenience passengers from our constituencies going to the City.

    “However, the rail companies assured us that the closure would be kept to a minimum currently expected to be 6 months. Having examined the plans, it is clear that a period of closure is unavoidable. Moreover, the works that require this closure will bring major improvements in services from our constituencies including up to 12 trains an hour from Hitchin into St Pancras and then continuing on the Thameslink network, as well as boosting services from Harpenden and St Albans to 12 trains an hour at peak times. We believe that work on the Thameslink project should go ahead without waiting for the Channel Tunnel Link as the government has suggested ? and with minimum interference with existing services. We will continue to press the rail companies to minimise disruption.

    “The major reform of our railways begun in 1993 has already reversed the decline in rail usage. It is now set to open up new routes, financed largely by massive private investment, making rail travel more attractive than car usage and so protecting the environment.?

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