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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Barrow and south Cumbria could end up with 'Third World' train line, group warns

KEY figures campaigning to retain direct train services between Manchester and Barrow were told they have got to “kick ass” to make it happen.

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DISCUSSIONS A conference was held in Barrow Town Hall yesterday to kick-start the next stage of the Cumbria Better Connected Campaign SUBMITTED

A conference was held in Barrow Town Hall yesterday to kick-start the next stage of the Cumbria Better Connected Campaign. It was attended by representatives from businesses, local authorities and TransPennine Express and Northern Rail – the two operators on the Furness line.

As part of the scheme, the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership is making an economic case for the electrification of the Furness line. The campaign has been ignited by the fact that, from May 2014, daily Barrow to Manchester trains will be reduced to four (there were six in October last year) and reduced from 10 to six in the other direction.

Beyond 2016, campaign leaders say it will be even more difficult to retain the existing level of through trains between Barrow and Manchester as a number of North West electrification schemes come to fruition.

The lack of seating on over-crowded trains between Barrow and Lancaster was also a point of concern at the meeting, with a call from Barrow councillor Wendy Maddox for an increase in carriages.

Yesterday’s chairman, John Owen, of Travel Watch North West, an independent organisation which represents all users of public transport in the region, told the conference: “Given all the investment being made in the network, the government should be ashamed that a line like ours faces being of Third World quality.

“It’s up to us to make them listen. We have to make it our business to do that and we have to lobby very hard.

“If this was America, we would say we’ve got to kick ass. But first we’ve got to get our own ass into gear to do so.”

Furness MP John Woodcock said the meeting had given a him a number of points to follow through – including firming up funding for analysis for the electrification of the Furness line, and forging links in and beyond the region, working with MPs for other constituencies on the line to Manchester.

He said: “I’m buoyed by the energy, positivity and determination to do better.”

Have your say

To prevent the intolerable overcrowding that happens all too frequently on our trains, the rail companies should sell the same number of tickets as there are seats on a particular train. Simple. This happens in other countries, why not in the UK?

Posted by AM on 20 January 2014 at 19:35

I commute daily from Barrow to Ulverston and have lost count of how many times I've had to get a taxi to either get to work on time or get home for my kids as the trains r cancelled, seriously delayed or just not letting anyone on because they are too full. And I come back to work from Xmas hols to find they have actually increased the price of this ridiculously shocking 'service' ( I use the term loosely). I don't care if they electrify or whatever else, it would just be nice for trains to actually arrive atall, somewhere near on time and to be able to get on one when it does!

Posted by daily commuter on 20 January 2014 at 19:25

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