The state of our local rail services continues to be completely unacceptable. I am outraged that the rail companies have had the audacity to put fares up by 3.1% in the New Year at a time when people have received written warnings from their employers on the back of their inability to get to work on time.
This week I welcomed the Friends of Mossley station to Parliament to meet with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to get across just what this means for local people and how we want to see it improved. 4% – not 40%, not 14%, but yes a shocking 4% – of trains through Mossley have been on time in recent months, and next week we are due to lose even more services from the timetable, which is an outrage. Delays through Stalybridge and other stations have also been completely unacceptable.
At our meeting the Transport Secretary agreed to arrange a meeting between local rail users and the officer in charge of train operations in the North to urge better co-operation between the rail companies; to look at platform accessibility; and that local train performance is unacceptable. While many of the problems which have caused the ongoing debacle are rather large-scale – such as the delay in the electrification of the lines – we also pressed the Transport Secretary during the meeting to ensure that short-term measures are in place to alleviate as much disruption as possible. These include making sure that stop orders – that is to say, making an express train stop at all stations when other services have been cancelled – are being used as had previously been promised by TransPennine.
Alongside neighbouring MPs on the line I have written to Chris Grayling to reiterate these points, to ask for an update on electrification, and to make our feelings on the 3.1% rail hike clear. You can read the letter in full on my Facebook page