Station to shut for six weeks but 'city will stay on track'
NOTTINGHAM Station is usually a hive of activity but in less than six months' time, its platforms will be empty as a major scheme is carried out.
Network Rail is spending £100 million to renew six miles of track, install 140 new signals and revamp two level crossings to the east of the station.
The work means the station will be closed between July 20 and August 26 but both East Midlands Trains and Network Rail say plans are being drawn up to ensure the city doesn't grind to a halt.
David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: "We have been working on it for five years.
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"We are determined to provide a really good service to passengers, even though we won't be able to run trains at Nottingham Station itself."
He added: "It's clearly going to be a big challenge but the six weeks chosen are the quietest of the year.
"We are going to have real long-term benefits when the work is done."
The closure will mean up to 40 rail replacement buses leaving Nottingham Station every hour, transferring passengers to nearby stations.
East Midlands Parkway station will be used as the main alternative for passengers heading to cities such as London, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield.
Buses will also take passengers between Nottingham and Derby, as well as to and from Newark and Grantham.
Full details of the replacement buses are due to be finalised in March, along with a revised train timetable.
Mr Horne said he was confident the buses could run reliably despite city centre roadworks and the widening of the A453 between the city and East Midlands Parkway station.
He said: "People needing to be in London for 9am will travel before the rush hour starts in Nottingham.
"At this crucial time, the roads tend to be quieter so hopefully the journeys will be smooth.
"The Highways Agency is scheduling the A453 work to fit around the station blockage.
"For example, they are not going to close the A453 overnight during that period, so access to East Midlands Parkway is maintained."
Network Rail is planning to build an extra 150 parking spaces at East Midlands Parkway station to cater for extra demand. Route managing director Martin Frobisher said: "There will be a lot of work done at East Midlands Parkway to make sure we have got everything in place in terms of parking and buses."
John Dowson, head of policy and representation at Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, described the work as a "necessary evil" for the city.
He said: "We and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club did quite a bit of lobbying to make sure the closure didn't coincide with the Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge [which starts on July 10]. That would have had a bigger impact on the local economy.
"It's one of those things that needs to be done."
Dave Thornhill, chairman of Notts Campaign for Better Transport, said he supported the work but had a few concerns about how well the replacement buses would function.
"I recognise they are throwing resources at it but what if there is an accident on the A453? What happens then?
"Most people will also get a tram or a bus into the city to then have to get another bus out.
"There's merit in seeing if passengers could use their rail tickets on any local buses, which would take them to an alternative station."
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