Yes, last weekend’s trip to London is still providing me with blog content.
I mentioned East Midlands Parkway railway station on my Megabusplus post on Tuesday, which is where Megabusplus users transfer from coach to train, and vice versa. The station is interesting because it’s essentially in the middle of nowhere, and has just recently celebrated its fifth birthday.
East Midlands Parkway opened in January 2009, and sits in the shadow of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station – you can see one of the large concrete cooling towers in the photo. It’s located on the Midland Main Line, south of Derby and Nottingham and north of Loughborough, and has four platforms – two long ones for intercity trains, and two shorter ones for local services. Although many trains pass through without stopping, a reasonable number of trains do stop here.
As it’s a ‘parkway’ station, there is plenty of car parking available, albeit it a price. It’s located about a mile away from the M1 motorway, so it’s quite well located for people who want to ‘park and ride’, i.e. drive some of the way and then take the train. The access road that connects it to M1 is in the process of being widened to dual carriageway, which should make it easier and quicker to get to.
The station was also built to serve East Midlands Airport – indeed the platform signs say so. When the station opened, passengers could alight from a train, and then catch a connecting shuttle bus to the airport, which is around four miles away. The bus service, however, only lasted a few months, and was withdrawn due to a lack of use. So whilst it is the nearest mainline railway station to the airport, you would still need to get a taxi to go all of the way there.
Despite being nowhere near any major settlements, and not having any other onward public transport links (barring the aforementioned Megabusplus services), East Midlands Parkway actually has quite a few facilities. There’s a staffed ticket office, toilets, a café, vending machines, and a small conference suite that can be booked out. And it is reasonably well used, with around a quarter of a million passengers passing through each year, although this is only a third of the projected numbers. Indeed, the ticket office didn’t seem particularly busy, but the café and toilets get sufficient footfall.
It’s an odd station, and one that isn’t being used for one of its intended purposes, but as a parkway station, and a changeover for the Megabusplus, it works well.