East Midlands Railway has announced plans to axe the regular service from mid-May, so as “not to disadvantage a much larger number of London-bound passengers” from Nottingham and Sheffield.
However, Alfreton Town Council has slammed the plans as reminiscent of the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s which saw services slashed across the country.
Coun Scott Walker, council leader, said: “I am disappointed EMR has not shown our desire to maintain the service and will be forever remembered as the company which re-enacted the Beeching cuts.
“Ultimately, the decision not to include the Alfreton to London service in the current franchise has proved irreversible, in spite of the council’s best efforts both now and when the franchise consultation was first published.”
Alfreton railway station reopened in 1973, having been closed six years earlier under Lord Richard Beeching’s Reshaping of British Railways report.
The council said, that for 45 years since, the town has had a daily service to and from London, but this will end in a few weeks.
The station will still be served by Northern services between Nottingham and Sheffield, while EMR said it has “added more stops to Alfreton, Langley Mill and Ilkeston throughout the week” on its Norwich-Liverpool service.
Frustration at changes
A council spokesman said: “For the last 18 months, the council has been proactively trying to save the service, but councillors have been left frustrated after their proposals to maintain the service were rejected.
An EMR spokesman said: “On May 16, we are introducing a new timetable across our network. For Alfreton, this means more trains, as well as an improved service for the majority of passengers who travel to and from the station.
“This includes an additional morning peak service to Nottingham as well as additional late evening services.
"However, there are changes to our existing Intercity services. London to Alfreton services are provided by our high-speed trains and has been possible as they start and end the day at a depot in Leeds.
"In May, these trains will be removed from service as they do not meet accessibility legislation. As a result, it is not possible to continue to provide this service in the same way.
“We have met the council, considered all responses to the public consultation and investigated all available options to maintain this service. However, this would require the removal of, or a significant journey time increase for, our inter-city services to and from Sheffield or Nottingham.
“Less than 4 per cent of passengers from Alfreton travel to London or other Midland Main Line destinations and therefore, removing or extending a journey to Sheffield or Nottingham to cater to this demand would disadvantage a much larger number of London-bound customers.
"As part of this timetable change, we are providing additional EMR Regional services, providing more trains and improved journey options for the most popular destinations to and from Alfreton, including Nottingham, Sheffield, Chesterfield and Manchester.
The spokesman said improved journey times between Nottingham and London from May, would mean, even with a change, the journey time from Alfreton to London will remain similar.
He said: “Passengers travelling to London, and stations south of Nottingham, will have a regular, half-hourly service to Nottingham for onward connections. In addition, Nottingham to London services will be quicker than they are today which means, including the change at Nottingham, journey times will remain very similar to today.”