Concern over train investment cutbacks

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Northern Rail service at Leeds

Following on from a Parliamentary debate today, pteg expressed concern that overcrowding at key regional rail hubs could get worse as the Department of Transport is seeking to scale down its planned investment in additional rolling stock for the North’s rail network.

Chair of pteg, Neil Scales, said:

‘We share the concerns that MPs expressed in Parliament today that the reductions in planned investment in additional trains for key hubs on the regional rail network is very bad news for many commuters.’

‘Our rail networks have seen some of the fastest growth anywhere in the country yet too many of our passengers travel to work on trains that are too old, and too overcrowded.’

Neil Scales added:

‘We are also concerned that this reduction in planned investment reflects a wider bias in Departmental thinking towards their home patch of London and the South East, at the expense of the regions. There’s little doubt that London deserves a modern public transport network – but so do the next tier of major city regions.’

‘Many of our areas are being hit hard by the economic downturn. Modern and attractive rail commuter networks will help underpin core cities economies and help provide the wider connectivity all our urban areas need. We need to ensure all our urban rail networks areas get their fair share of available investment in new rolling stock and we are glad to see that we have the support of a growing number of MPs as we make this case to the Department for Transport.’

ENDS

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 904 1485

pteg represents the six Passenger Transport Executives which serve 11 million people in the largest urban areas outside London.

Notes for Editors

  • The DfT pledged 182 additional carriages for the Northern Rail Franchise in 2007. It has emerged that the Department for Transport (DfT) now plans to almost halve that figure. It is also unclear how many of those much-needed carriages would be new, when they would be introduced or whether they would meet the needs of local networks in terms of electric or diesel traction.
  • While London and the South East has had 580 new carriages in the last five years, Northern Rail has had zero.
  • Since the late 1990s numbers of peak rail passengers in West Yorkshire have almost doubled and that number is continuing to grow. Sixty percent of all peak hour arrivals into Leeds carry standing passengers and across the 3 hour peak period, 11% of arrivals into Leeds are operating above maximum capacity.
  • Between 1995/6 and 2007/8 passenger journeys were up by 57 per cent in Greater Manchester. Over half of all trains in peak hour now have standing passengers.