Big changes are already underway for in the North of England's railway services, some of it good, some of it not so good.
For instance, our area will benefit from around £4bn of investment that is coming from Network Rail’s ‘Northern Hub’ project, which will see several of the key routes throughout the North being electrified and significant alterations to both Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations.
On the other hand however, we stand to lose trains that run on the Stalybridge line to help satisfy a shortage in the Chilterns, as I explained here.
Whichever aspect you choose to focus on there is no doubting that rail services are an extremely significant issue for people locally, and something that the success of the area is completely dependent on.
That’s why I think the most recent announcement form the Department for Transport regarding the refranchising of Northern rail services is so important.
As the Department’s consultation document explains, both the rail franchises that run through our area are due to be refranchised by 2015.
I have long campaigned for better train services across Stalybridge, Hyde, and Mossley and believe that any reduction to our current services would be both unacceptable and counterproductive. People depend on these services, and the success of the local economy is dependent on the quality of our transport links.
As part of this process I will be making a formal submission to the DfT’s consultation – through which I will be making the case to protect local services – but I would encourage people who use them to do the same.
If you wish to read the consultation and make a submission you can do so by following this link, and if you wish to share your thoughts with me please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org