As my hon. Friend will know from yesterday’s statement, there are currently two trains per hour between Kettering and Nottingham serving the evening peak, and one train per hour during the rest of the day. Our proposal for the next east midlands franchise is for a minimum of one train per hour between Kettering and Nottingham throughout the day, but no firm decision has been made yet. I will listen carefully to my hon. Friend’s further representations.
On any objective analysis, the superb submission to the east midlands franchise consultation by the Kettering rail users group must be one of the best that the Minister’s office has received. May I invite him to reread the submission in even greater detail, given that it contains an overwhelmingly compelling case for Kettering to be the optimum connectivity hub in the new east midlands franchise?
I happily pay tribute to the work of the Kettering rail users association; I always find that the views of those who use our rail network are a source of great wisdom. As my hon. Friend knows, we have had the biggest upgrade on the midland main line since 1870, with the creation of a sixth path. We are keen to maintain as many northbound opportunities as possible from Kettering, and I will review that submission in greater detail.