Memorandum by David Wragg Esq (REN 28)
I would like to submit the following for consideration
by the Select Committee looking into rail services in the North
1. The North of England needs a vibrant,
reliable and expanding rail service, that meets the needs of industry,
and the social and commuting needs of its residents. The services
need to expand and develop to ensure that the rail network takes
up any increases in travel demands ,and regains some of the present
usage of road transport. To ensure that the present road system
does not expand and encroach on the precious asset of our countryside.
2. The Government and the SRA seem to have
little commitment to improve services in the Region, in the SRA
report they state the main priority is to reduce overcrowding
in the South East, and some 70% of the available investment will
be directed to meet these needs.
The schemes proposed for the Region are below
the minimum level required to ensure the service levels stand
still never mind improve. Most multi-modal studies carried out
dismissed the role of rail to solve the problems of the motorway
and trunk roads. Therefore monies must be made available to improve
the rail infrastructure to ensure it can absorb any increase in
traffic, to ensure that the increase is taken by the railway and
not the roads.
3. The services in the Region have improved
very little since privatisation, the monies have not been available
to improve the services. All rail companies will only see a improvement
to there image if they provide a reliable and clean service.
We list below comments on the services of the
(a) GNERgood customer service, but
overcrowding on most services. There is real need for investment
in more rolling stock, but the franchisee is unwilling to invest
because of the short term of his contract.
(b) Midland Main Line-good customer services,
but the service is unreliable and some trains are dirty. The need
is for some infrastructure improvements to improve reliability.
Sheffield needs a service that takes less than two hours to get
(c) Virgin Cross CountryThe trains
are overcrowded unreliable and dirty, the information provided
to passengers is poor, staff state a train is only slightly delayed,
when it is running 30 late, and will miss some of its booked connections.
New stock this year should help but improvements to some of the
infrastructure are required.
(d) ArrivaUnreliable and overcrowded
on the Transpennine routes, unreliable dirty trains on the other
routes. The service does not meet the requirements of the customers
and therefore it does little to retain them ,and does not attract
travellers off the roads. Problems with staff are well documented,
but the crisis seems to be made worse by top management.
(e) North WesternThe services are
unreliable dirty and overcrowded on some services. The provision
of new rolling stock is helping but the image is still poor with
(f) West CoastUnreliable dirty and
overcrowd services. Things must improve with new trains and the
infrastructure improvements south of Crewe but the customer service
must improve for the image to attract back travellers.
(g) Hull TrainsProvides a much needed
service which is clean reliable and provides good customer services.
(h) CentralProvides a mediocre service
even new stock is dirty and in some cases overcrowded.
(i) Freight ServicesThe expansion
of services is held back by the lack of infrastructure investment
in the Region.
4. To improve the rail services in the Region
will take as much as that required for the South East The most
urgent need is investment in the Infrastructure (a) in the existing
to provide a reliable service and (b) to provide additional capacity.
More routes must be developed across the Pennines,
such as the reopening of Colne to Skipton and the Woodhead route.
The main Transpennine routes should be improved
to W10 or W12 clearance and diversionary routes should be opened
for freight trains around Manchester. If the flyover at Manchester
Piccadilly was built, this would allow more passenger trains to
operate but also ensure that more freight could be taken across
the country by rail and save having to build another motorway.
5. Door to door reliable travel is what
the public require, therefore a integrated system must be provided,
linking bus rail and air services. The reopening of various routes
must be investigated such as Leemside, Harrogate-Northallerton
6. A safe reliable clean rail service is
what is required for the North of England and the SRA must be
directed and given the funds to provide the services the region
Council For The Protection of Rural England