New plan to secure rail services for the North
"RAIL services will be maintained and capacity on key routes will be
increased as part of a deal to secure additional rolling stock for the North of
England" announced the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin on 8
January 2015. A spokesman for the Department for Transport said that:-
"the plan means that existing rail services will be maintained from May 2015.
This follows a decision by rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook to move
trains running on the TransPennine Express route to the Chiltern franchise. In
addition, the Department for Transport has agreed a plan with the operators of
the Northern and TransPennine Express routes to offer more carriages and seats."
But the Rail UNION RMT said it has:- "exposed the truth" behind
this:- "much hyped, new trains for the North" spin from the
Government which unveiled a block of new campaigning events and welcomed the
news that 2 more big local authorities, Lancaster and Newcastle, have passed
motions condemning the cuts plans wrapped up in the franchise plans for both
Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine Express.
Patrick McLoughlin said:- "Rail services across the North are vital for
passengers and for the economy. By helping people access work and leisure more
easily, we are securing long term economic growth across the region. That is why
we have worked hard with Northern and TransPennine Express to ensure we expand
services and enhance passenger journeys."
Department for Transport said that:- "Over the coming
months, the agreement will deliver a number of benefits to passengers." Department for Transport also added that information about the following
services:- "We are adding more carriages between Manchester and
Blackpool! Capacity on selected services between Blackpool North and Manchester
Airport / Manchester Oxford Road will be increased, providing extra seats for
the benefit of passengers in destinations including Preston, Bolton and Salford.
Plus additional capacity on Cumbrian Coast services Longer trains will provide
extra capacity to Carlisle, Maryport, Workington, Whitehaven, Sellafield and
Barrow-in-Furness, with potential to create additional jobs. There will also be
an enhanced early morning service from Carlisle to Sellafield, arriving in time
for the morning shift at the Power Station. Also we are committed to adding
electric trains on Manchester Victoria to Liverpool and Liverpool to Preston
routes. Refreshed electric trains, providing faster, smoother and greener
journeys, will be rolled out on busy commuter routes between Liverpool and
Manchester Victoria from May, at a faster rate than previously planned. In
addition, refreshed electric trains will be rolled out on the Liverpool to
Preston route in the autumn of 2015. This will free up existing diesel trains to
create additional capacity elsewhere on the north’s network. That is not
forgetting we are revising services for South Cumbria and Windermere. A new
10:53am service from Windermere to Manchester Airport will be introduced, while
the existing 13:33 service from Barrow-in-Furness to Manchester Airport will
depart at 12:13pm, to provide more balanced services throughout the day. The
6:18am Manchester Airport to Barrow-in-Furness service will no longer run, but a
new, direct service, the Manchester Oxford Road to Barrow-in-Furness, running
from 17:14, will be introduced, with a connection for Windermere. We are have
also revised services on the South TransPennine route. An hourly service will be
maintained between Manchester Airport, Sheffield, Doncaster and Cleethorpes. The
vast majority of these will remain as direct services. Limited amends are
planned, with customers for the 15:55 between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes
and the 16:26 Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport needing to change at Doncaster.
Lastly, changes will be made to services between Manchester, West Yorkshire,
North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Coast, Humberside and the Northeast. All services
will be operated with a minimum of 3 carriages or 181 seats, whereas at present
some services on the route are operated by 2 carriage trains with 116 seats."
But the RMT added in a press release that:- "The 'new'
trains’ story is pure Government spin. The 156 classed units being borrowed from
Northern are 28 years old, and are replacing modern 170 classed units which are
going south to Chiltern railways, because the rolling stock outfit Porterbrook
can extract more money out of Chiltern than they can out of Trans-Pennine
Express. The extra capacity claims are also exposed as completely bogus, as the
aging 156 units are going to run as two coupled together giving a capacity of
just four carriages; whilst the 170 stock they are replacing are three cars that
can be coupled as well, giving a 6 car set. The announcement coming out shortly
for the Cumbrian coast, which the minister referred to is also being spun to
mislead the public as it will amount to nothing less than freight locomotives
pulling what are in effect heritage carriages. Against this background of smoke
and mirrors being puffed up by the Government and their spin doctors, 2 more
major local authorities have joined the growing list opposing the Northern and
TPE franchise plans." But the RMT did say that:- "Newcastle and
Lancaster; is a move welcomed by us in the RMT and is more evidence that our
continued campaigning is winning top level support in communities right across
the North." Also the RMT has publicly expressed its "surprise that Lib-Dem’s in
Newcastle abstained on the issue; showing again just why they are sinking
without trace as a political force as they cling on to the bankrupt policies of
their Tory coalition partners."
RMT also commented:- "The government has been forced to confirm in writing
that the Invitations to Tender (ITTs) for the new Northern and TransPennine
franchises will be delayed into February at the earliest, but there are now
growing uncertainties at the DfT about the current TPE franchise extension and
problems over the electrification in the Region that look like dragging on well
into the new year."
Nick Donovan, Managing Director for First TransPennine Express (FTPE) said:-
"A great deal of background work has been undertaken by ourselves, Northern
Rail and the Department for Transport that seeks to ensure capacity and
frequency of FTPE services across our network is maintained for the timetable
change in May 2015. I am delighted that we have been able to work together and
develop a plan that aims to protect rail services for the huge majority of
customers in the north of England and, indeed, deliver some additional capacity
at a time when demand across our network is higher than ever."
Alex Hynes, Managing Director, Northern Rail said:-
"Rail travel is increasingly popular in the north of England placing capacity at
a premium. That is why we have been working with First TransPennine Express and
the Department for Transport to ensure customers would not be disadvantaged by
the loss of some FTPE trains. In doing so we are delighted to be able to provide
more seats for customers on some of our busiest routes. Through deploying more
electric trains to take advantage of newly electrified routes, we are able to
help maintain capacity for FTPE and add more seats for customers in Cumbria,
Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside."
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:- "The bluster from the Government
about 'new trains for the North' has been exposed as a pack of spin, subterfuge
and downright lies. The truth is that the more modern rolling stock is being
shipped south, with aging units, running reduced formations, dumped onto
Trans-Pennine Express in yet another lashed-up measure which is an insult to the
whole region. While George Osborne has been spouting a stream of rhetoric about
a 'Northern Powerhouse' the real truth is that the whole region can expect sub
standard, bodged up services for many years to come. RMT activists and our
supporters in the community will continue to be out in force across the region
in this New Year with a renewal of our fight against the rail franchise carve
up. RMT’s message is clear, the fight to stop the outrageous attack on jobs,
safety and services under the Northern and TPE franchise plans continues in 2015
and the union is sending out the clearest possible signal to George Osborne, his
Government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport
operations and to cut the hot air about improving services when they are
actually condemning the North to years of rail misery."
That RMT campaign is now taking what it says are "5 key messages"
out to the travelling public:-
► SAY NO to Driver Only Operated Trains.
► Keep OUR Ticket Offices Open.
► Keep OUR Stations Staffed and Safe.
► STOP CUTS to the Transpennine Express Network.
► OPPOSE Massive Fare Increases.
The list of new campaigning events is as follows:–
LANCASTER - On Monday, 12 January 2015, between 16.00 and 18.00, the RMT will be
meeting outside Lancaster Railway Station.
MANCHESTER VICTORIA - Monday, 12 January 2015, between 16.00 to 17.00, meeting
outside Manchester Victoria Railway Station
BARROW-IN-FURNESS - Tuesday, 13 January 2015, meeting between 08.30 to 11.00,
outside Barrow-in-Furness Railway Station.
BLACKBURN - Saturday, 17 January 2015, meeting between 10.30 to 12.00, outside
Blackburn Railway Station.
Find out what else the government is doing to support and grow the UK economy:-
What are your thoughts on this? Please email us and let us know by emailing us
British Transport Police officers help canine
commuter find her way home in a tail with a happy ending
THE British Transport Police
Officers were on hand to make sure a 4 legged passenger was reunited with her
family after she hitched a ride on a Northern Rail service.
Princess, a 4 year
old Staffordshire Terrier, found herself far from home after she escaped from
her back garden in Rochdale, on Friday, 2 January 2015, and headed to Castleton
Station where she hopped on board a Northern Rail train to Manchester for a
doggy day trip.
She jumped off the train at Manchester Victoria, where she was
met by Station Staff, who handed her over to PC Christopher O'Connor and PCSO
When they realised Princess was travelling alone, they set about
attempting to find her owners with PC O'Connor tweeting an appeal for help from
his Twitter Account. This was then retweeted by colleagues at Greater Manchester
Police and Northern Rail while PC O'Connor and PSCO Howard set off, with
Princess in tow, to the Dogs Trust to have her scanned for a micro chip. And
thanks to a lot of teamwork and the power of social media, Princess' owners, the
Hughes family, were soon tipped off that she had taken a trip into Manchester on
Amanda Hughes said:- "I knew she'd got a train into Manchester within 40
minutes of her going missing. I'd posted it on my facebook account and someone
replied saying they'd spotted her on Twitter and facebook. They said they were
sure it was Princess, but I thought it's just not something she would do. We
don't live far from the Station, but we always walk her in the other direction,
so how she found her way there and then jumped on a train is a mystery, but she
is a bit of a character."
Now recovered from her adventure, and with a new micro chip, it's unlikely
Princess will be getting a rail pass anytime soon... "The funny thing is,
when I collected her and we went home on the train she was scared stiff yet she
managed to make the journey all on her own. I can laugh about it now that she's
safe and sound, but at the time we were worried sick." added Amanda.
PC Christopher O'Connor who, along with PCSO Howard, escorted Princess to safety
after her adventure said:- "She's a lovely dog and she was a real pleasure
to deal with, she was so affectionate and friendly. This was definitely 1 of our
nicer jobs, we got a great deal of satisfaction from seeing her get home safely.
It's great to think that, thanks to a lot of teamwork with colleagues at
Northern Rail and Greater Manchester Police, there was a happy ending."
Unite Student Gets Call Up From GB Team
UNITE Martial Arts Academy are celebrating the remarkable achievements of
their students this week as he was selected for the Taekwondo national
development squad after starting classes only one year ago. Joe Dove recently
put on an excellent performance at the National Championships in September,
bringing home a Silver medal amongst a very strong field. Joe will test his
skills and train amongst the best athletes in the country at the Taekwondo
national performance centre in Manchester and benefit from world class coaching
and performance analysis. This will give him a great opportunity to hone his
technique and look towards competing at international level. If you would like
to try Taekwondo Unite offer 4 free classes for age 4+ including Olympic style
sparring, we are based at Tulketh Street, Southport and Mayflower Est, Formby.
UniteMartialArts.com for more info or call:- 01704500323.
Bag containing passport and flight tickets
stolen from train at Manchester Piccadilly.
THE British Transport Police have
issued a fresh appeal to track down a thief who stole a bag, leaving its owner
stranded in the UK for Christmas.
Officers have eliminated from their enquiries a man they initially wanted to
speak to and have now released images of another man they think could have vital
information that would assist the investigation.
The incident occurred at around 2pm on Tuesday, 16 December 2015, as the victim
travelled from Hull to Manchester Airport to spend Christmas with his family in
China. His bag, containing his passport and tickets, was stolen from the luggage
rack on the train.
Investigating officer PC Carly Rickwood said:-
"When the victim changed trains at Doncaster he stored his bag in the overhead
racks. When the train arrived at Manchester Piccadilly he looked up and realised
that his bag had been stolen."
Officers believe the man in the CCTV image could have vital information about
the theft and urge him or anyone who recognises him to come forward to assist
with their enquiries.
PC Rickwood added:- "The bag contained the victim's passport, his flight
tickets to China and expensive electrical equipment. Sadly because of this act
the victim missed his flight and could not see his family at Christmas. Theft at
anytime is bad enough but at Christmas, supposedly the season of goodwill to all
men, it seems particularly cruel, especially when it has prevented the victim
from spending this special time of year with his family. If anyone has any
information please contact British Transport Police on:- 0800 40 50 40, or
text:- 61016, quoting reference:- PSUB/B6 of 05/01/2015. Information can also be
passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111."