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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 07:44 GMT
Rail firm considers new service
A rail firm says it is in the early stages of developing a bid to provide a new direct service between Lincolnshire and Stratford in east London.

Mike Jones, a director of Renaissance Trains, said the service would start in Cleethorpes and travel through Cambridgeshire to east London.

He said the route would not be a government franchise but an independently-run service.

Lincoln MP Gillian Merron said the service would be a boost to the area.

A 55m investment in Lincoln's rail network was announced last week by Network Rail.

Details 'sketchy'

The money will be used to replace a two-mile (3.2km) stretch of track running through Lincoln's city centre. Signalling in the area, which is thought to be about 90 years old, will be replaced as part of that project.

If a new Lincolnshire-to-London service is approved, services could start as early as September 2008, Mr Jones said.

Trains would start at Cleethorpes and stop at stations including Grimsby, Market Rasen, Lincoln, Sleaford and Spalding before going on to Peterborough, Cambridge and Stratford City.

Mr Jones admitted details were sketchy as the proposals were "not well developed yet" but added the backers believed it could be a profitable route.

In 2000, Renaissance Trains was the original promoter of Hull Trains, which runs six daily services to London.

Ms Merron said the bidders would have to satisfy the rail regulator and show the service would increase the rail market and not just divert passengers to a new route.

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