MP to call for debate on rail line upgrade

Terry Joiner and Richard Surfleet are calling upon others to get behind their MPs for a Westminster Hall debate. EMN-150510-192433001

Terry Joiner and Richard Surfleet are calling upon others to get behind their MPs for a Westminster Hall debate. EMN-150510-192433001

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Sleaford MP Stephen Phillips is seeking to bring to Parliament the issue of increased disturbance from freight trains at anti-social hours on an upgraded rail line.

Mr Phillips has been working on behalf of residents living beside the GN/GE line from Doncaster to Peterborough via Sleaford which has been upgraded at a cost of £240m to enable rail freight to bypass a bottleneck on the East Coast Main Line.

Richard Surfleet and Tony Joiner live on Highgate, Helpringham, next to the line and have been in correspondence for two years with Network Rail about the line which runs within 67 metres of their properties.

They are seeking compensation for disturbance or some means of alleviating it as they feel the development has rendered their homes unsaleable.

Mr Joiner, 73, said: “We will get seven or eight trains a night from midnight to 5am. The roar and thunder is collosal.”

Mr Phillips is to ballot for a Westminster Hall debate to bring this issue before Parliament. A spokesman for Mr Phillips explained as the debates are done by ballot, it is a matter of luck as to when, but they are hopeful to see one shortly into the new year. Mr Surfleet is appealing to residents similarly affected to lobby their MPs to back Mr Phillips’ bid.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The line was already in daily use for both passenger and freight rail services and there is therefore no automatic obligation to introduce noise or particulate mitigation measures for increases in service levels. I do appreciate the concerns of local residents but Network Rail is not funded to offer any form of compensation for carrying out our statutory obligations in maintaining or enhancing the railway.”

Mr Surfleet, 73, said so much has been done that it is in effect a brand new line. He said the worst of the freight traffic is through the night.