Press release 7th August 2021

“Seriously flawed” East Coast timetable plans

The rail industry must urgently look again at a proposed new rail timetable, say rail campaigners, claiming that it will make many journeys more difficult and may force passengers off the railways and onto already-congested roads.

Railfuture’s submission to the East Coast Main Line (ECML) May 2022 Timetable Consultation is peppered with phrases such as “seriously flawed”, “too strongly influenced”, “connectivity will be reduced” and “we are concerned”. Railfuture does, however, manage to find a few things to like such as arrangements for Cambridge services and more services to Middlesbrough.

Railfuture’s submission comments “We believe the allocation of new resources arising from substantial government investment is seriously flawed and will deliver poorer services for many users. We urge that introduction of the proposed timetable be suspended pending a re-examination of objectives and reassessment of the outputs that can be delivered”.

Following the work, Railfuture director Neil Middleton commented “The proposed timetable will give a worse service to people in many communities – a mixture of fewer destinations and in some cases fewer services. In some places it will become impossible to get a train to the next station down the line.”

He added “Although the formal consultation has now completed, that is not the end of opportunity to ask for change – indeed the real chance is now, as the consultation has revealed just how bad these plans are for so many rail users”.

“As a next step, the rail industry will need to `sell’ the proposals to the Government and to politicians. Anyone concerned about this planned change should write to their local politicians – councillors and MPs - and ask them to ensure the DfT and the rail industry fully consider the substantial dissatisfaction expressed through the consultation process, and adopt the practical solutions for resolving the issues suggested by us and other campaign groups.”

Notes to editors:

Railfuture’s full response – which runs to 16 pages of observations and suggestions for improvement is available at https://www.railfuture.org.uk/display2742.

The last page of our submission provides a summary of the planned new service. Communities that will see a loss in the quality of their train service under the draft proposals include Grantham, Retford, Newark, Leeds, Northallerton, Durham, Darlington, Newcastle, Morpeth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Dunbar & Edinburgh – and, away from the East Coast Mainline, Liverpool & Manchester

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

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:

Neil Middleton, Director and Railfuture ECML Consultation submission co-author
Mobile: 07887 628367
neil.middleton at railfuture.org.uk

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