Press release 21st August 2014

Rail campaigners fight to save services in the North

Rail campaigners have set out their vision for how rail services in the North should be developed in the next few years. The government launched a consultation in June and Railfuture today published their proposals.

"There is huge scope for improvement" said Chris Hyomes of Railfuture's Yorkshire Branch "Of course, we want to see more trains and increased investment.  The north of England has been the bridesmaid for far too long. Northern Rail trains are mostly old and unsuitable, and many Northern and TransPennine services are overcrowded. The Department for Transport must authorise the building of new trains as a matter of urgency."

"But there's a real risk that services could actually worsen.  One of the key issues in this consultation that we're fighting for is to keep through trains between Liverpool and Norwich.  The Department for transport wants to split them at Nottingham which would force a thousand passengers a day to break their journey.  Imagine doing that in a car and having to transfer all your luggage. This is one of the longest and most important cross-country rail routes. It provides the only direct link between East Anglia and Northern England, serving six major centres in four English regions and provides connections to many other destinations too. We fear that this split will deter people from travelling altogether."

"It's the same story with the Cleethorpes to Manchester service, which the DfT wants to split at Doncaster. This would force about 900 people a day to change trains and would increase journey times. That wouldn't benefit anyone”

“We also fear that there’s a deliberate policy of pricing people off the railway instead of investing in new capacity.  We’ve noticed slight changes to ticket validity which mean that some passengers are having to buy more expensive tickets or are deterred from travelling. “

"The government stresses that we must provide evidence for any of our proposals. Because we're a long established independent organisation we're best placed to offer an unbiased national perspective informed by local knowledge and experience of our members"

"For instance, we've identified an opportunity of the Hope Valley (Sheffield-Manchester) line for a Leicester to North West service. Leicester and Derby are the largest centres within 100 miles of Manchester without a direct train service from there "

The government has now announced its shortlist of bidders for the Northern and Trans Pennine franchises. "As one door closes another one opens. We'll be contacting the shortlisted bidders soon to discuss our ideas.  Our local expertise will provide the evidence to boost the case for any improvements they propose, which in turn increases their chances of winning the franchise, so everyone benefits.  We'll be seeking to forge a long-term relationship with whoever the new franchisee is. "

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's response can be downloaded at http://www.railfuture.org.uk/dl842

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Chris Hyomes , Yorkshire Branch spokesman        
Tel: (01977) 790545 Mobile: 07971 766207
chris.hyomes at railfuture.org.uk

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk