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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Barrow MP seeks meeting over train worries

A DECISION to transfer nine trains from the North to the South has prompted more fears the Furness line could be downgraded.

It was revealed yesterday that First TransPennine Express’ train fleet will be cut by 13 per cent next year, following a decision by the Department for Transport which FTPE had no contractual right to oppose.

That means nine of its 70 trains will be moved from the Manchester to Hull routes to the south to run for Chiltern Rail. Rail campaigners have raised concerns over the knock-on effect for the Furness line.

It has already been confirmed that, from May, 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.

John Owen, of TravelWatch North West, said the nine trains equated to a loss of 1.5 million journey seats per year and FTPE would need to put more of its reduced fleet on the busy Manchester-Leeds-Hull routes, casting doubt over a campaign to increase the number of direct Barrow-Manchester services.

Mr Owen said: “If FTPE are going to have to transfer a number of trains in to replace these ones that are working on their busiest section, then clearly Cumbria is going to get no chance of being able to restore such services and may end up just having a branch line, operating between Lancaster and Barrow.”

The nine trains to be transferred are the Class 170 diesel. Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, who has been at the forefront of the Cumbria Better Connected Campaign to enhance the Furness line, said it was “astonishing” the trains were being transferred without replacement.

He said: “Train operators are clear 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’m seeking an urgent meeting with ministers to raise our concerns.”

A DfT spokesman said: “We’re working closely with FTPE to ensure essential passenger services continue to run following the end of the current contract in April next year.”

Have your say

More cuts to the Barrow service.Yet we subsidize the new high speed link from the South.
If John Woodcock backs this he can look elsewhere for votes.

Posted by Pedro on 5 March 2014 at 21:31

Why the worries over the barrow to Manchester line perhaps they should look at the line all way to Carlisle there must be thousands of people who live along or near to the line,and with the service we all get it is ridiculous,yet these people want to send trains to built up areas where there are taxis buses and other public transport,where down the west coast of Cumbria you be lucky if there is a bus between millom and Whitehaven,so never mind just trans Pennine,I just hope Northern can keep up the service to keep this remote yet beautiful part of Britain connected,finally why should barrow to Manchester line miss out every time I get a train south the seats are all reserved and the trains are full,so with less trains means more overcrowding which means either the train does not leave or standing only,

Posted by Dax on 4 March 2014 at 21:42

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