Marketing NG Opinion Piece – the importance of rail connectivity for Nottingham.

The East Midlands Railway (EMR) 2020 consultation is a great opportunity for the businesses and leaders in Nottingham to express their opinions.

For Marketing NG, we are particularly keen to get lots of feedback to EMR relating to this. The rail network timetable changes and rail improvements in general are vital to Nottingham’s economic development. In relation to the proposed changes, we welcome the improvements to average speeds for Nottingham to London, and the more frequent service between Nottingham and Derby. We appreciate the electrification to part of the service south of Kettering, which means that in time the Nottingham services will be bi-mode part diesel, part electric services.

However, we are disappointed that electrification is not all the way between Nottingham and London and that the changes made have only a marginal benefit for Nottingham. This was the opportunity to get “90 to London”. It should have been possible with this change, to schedule faster services to Nottingham. As the most used train station in the East Midlands with over 8 million passengers per year, we believe that services to Nottingham should have been prioritised.

The city has made a massive investment in public transport locally with the only tram network in the East Midlands, and investments in the Nottingham Southern Gateway of over £2 billion, both of which create market of potential train users from Nottingham.  For Invest in Nottingham – we have an active campaign promoting Nottingham as a destination for businesses located in London and a campaign to attract both talent and businesses to Nottingham.

For Visit Nottingham – we have a large and diverse culture, events and sporting programme second to none in the region, and major investment in Nottingham Castle – only a short walk from the train station which opens in 2021. We will be attracting more people to Nottingham and would hope that improved access from London would support that.

We also have 2 major Universities with nearly 70,000 students, who are regular users of the railway network, who again would benefit from faster to London options in the EMR 2020 timetable changes.

From a supporting existing investors perspective, better connections to neighbouring cities, but primarily London, mean better access to businesses, supply chains, employees, residents, which will improve productivity (and thus reducing costs) and support growth. Improving transport links shows that we are pro-investment and acts as a catalyst for investment from businesses and developers. Also crucially if we don’t invest in transport links we will be left behind.

From a quality of life perspective, many people need to commute. The standard of their commute will have an impact on where they choose to live, where they work, and how much time they have to spend with their family and friends. Nottingham’s indisputable unique selling point is its location at the heart of the country, nothing is too far away and we link the north and the south, but this will be undermined if transport links don’t keep up.