The Department for Transport has announced a series of public consultation meetings, which will seek the views of the public on the specification provided to bidders for the next TransPennine Express (TPE) and Northern rail franchises due in February 2016.
I believe that this is an important opportunity to get your voice heard in this process. Over the last four years David Cameron has failed to stand up for working people, allowing train companies to hit passengers with inflation-busting fare rises of up to nine per cent.
This new consultation suggests there will be further fare increases and service reductions on these franchises. Particularly worrying for TPE passengers is the ongoing uncertainty regarding the future of nine of their trains, which are currently set to be moved to Chiltern railways in April 2015.
I have received an increasing number of complaints from constituents about services for commuters at Greenfield station, including last minute reductions in carriages for commuter services at peak times, which are exacerbating overcrowding.
Last month I challenged Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, in the House of Commons on whether some of Northern Rail’s diesel stock may be being transferred to TransPennine Express (TPE) to supplement the gap left by an earlier stock transfer from TPE to the Chilterns Railways. His response showed the complete lack of forward planning for Greenfield’s passengers who are already squashed like sardines during their daily commute.
The consultation is to:
• inform about the planned process and timescales for awarding the TPE and Northern franchises
• provide background information about the current services and the context of the new franchises
• guide stakeholders and potential funders of the objectives and expectations for the franchises
• discuss the requirements included in the Rail Executive’s base case specifications and the options considered
• invite potential funders to notify Rail Executive of any changes
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed the venues and timings for the public consultation meetings. User groups are invited to attend whichever meeting is most convenient.
If you would like to attend, please email: NorthernTPEconsultation2014@dft.gsi.gov.uk, setting out your name, organisation and which of the following you will be attending:
Edinburgh (TPE only)
Wed 25th June 2014, 10.30am – 12.15pm
Midlothian Room, City of Edinburgh Council
Thu 3rd July 2014, 10.30am – 1pm
Committee Room A, County Hall, Lancashire County Council
Wed 9th July 2014, 10.30am – 1pm
George Hudson Room, West Offices, City of York Council
These meetings will include a presentation about both the Northern and TPE train service specifications and the consultation processes, a presentation from Passenger Focus and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.
Click here to link to the DfT web pages on the joint Rail Executive/Rail North public consultation including the Stakeholder consultation document, and details of how you can respond.
This joint consultation closes on 18 August 2014.