Train transfer expected to bring travel misery for South Lakeland commuters (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Train transfer expected to bring travel misery for South Lakeland commuters
Updated 5:38pm Tuesday 4th March 2014 in News
MORE travel misery for passengers using direct trains to Manchester from Barrow and Windermere has been predicted by rail campaigners.
It follows an announcement that 70 TransPennine Express train units will be moved to the south of England to be run by another franchise - Chiltern Rail in the London and Home Counties region.
John Owen of TravelWatch North West, an independent company representing all users of public transport in the region, said: “This is another example of a south east based government not caring a jot for train passengers in the north of England.
“TransPennine is already the most over-crowded train company in the UK and will now lose 13 per cent of its train units.”
Those units being transferred are understood to be used mostly on the Manchester to Leeds and Hull routes, with other train services having to accommodate the cuts.
“The north loses again and rail passengers here can look forward to continuing over-crowding misery for the foreseeable future,” added Mr Owen.
The worry is that the transfer will cause a detrimental and knock on affect to the train services running from Barrow and Windermere.
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “With the threat of more cuts hanging over Cumbria’s direct trains to Manchester, it is astonishing that ministers have approved the transfer of a large number of TransPennine trains to leafy Buckinghamshire, without any replacement.
“With trains across the north becoming ever-more overcrowded, there is an urgent need for more carriages – a strategy of robbing Peter to pay Paul means more travel misery and more service cuts.
“Train operators are clear that the shortage of suitable diesel trains is one of the key reasons why the direct trains to Furness have been reduced: along with other northern MPs, I am seeking an urgent meeting with ministers to raise our concerns.”
Nick Donovan, managing director for First TransPennine Express said: "We are in negotiations with the Department for Transport to agree operating until February 2016, which is the anticipated start date of a new longer term rail franchise. The exact details about the terms of this ten month agreement are being worked out.
"Following the announcement that the Class 170 trains we use will be transferred to another operator when our current franchise ends, one of the subjects that will be addressed by these negotiations is rolling stock capacity in order to maintain the significant capacity and timetable improvements that we will bring in from May this year."
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