Robert Hampton

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14th August 2014

Consultation Station
Posted by at 9.03pm | Trains | 2 responses

Do you travel by train in the north of England? Specifically, the Northern Rail or Transpennine Express franchises?

Both franchises are up for renewal in 2016, and the Department for Transport is seeking views from “stakeholders” on the future of the service. The consultation document (PDF file) sets out the Government’s view.

The good news:

6.12 We are not considering line or station closures within this review of the franchise design.

However, there are lots of other ideas discussed, some of which are slightly worrying. It’s no secret that the Northern franchise attracts a huge subsidy, and “efficiency” is the watchword to try and drive costs down. Fare rises, ticket office closures and reductions in lightly-used services could be on the cards.

On a more positive note, the document also mentions the possibility of changes to TPE’s Scottish services and maybe bringing back a direct Liverpool-Scotland service. This would be a big improvement on the current situation where connections from Liverpool to anywhere north of Preston are quite poor.

We are also asked for views on which services, in particular, are underperforming and could be improved. If you think Teesside Airport deserves a train every 10 minutes, now is the time to speak up!

Of course, the cynical view is that the DfT have already made up their minds, and this is a sham consultation before they rubber-stamp the changes. But the opportunity is there to make your views heard.

You have until 18th August to make your views known. The future of your local railway station could be at stake, so view the consultation document and find out how to respond on the Department for Transport web site.

This whole post is without prejudice to my strongly-held view that the best structure for Britain’s railways is a state-owned not-for-profit organisation running services with the best interests of passengers and taxpayers at heart.

Northern Rail