Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 6, 2016

Are We In The Northern Poorhouse?

Do you remember being told that the new rail franchise awards play heavily on the Northern Powerhouse theme, saying that they will play a vital role in bringing the Northern Powerhouse to life providing significantly better journeys across the region? Northern-Rail-and-DfT-logo Note the Serco/Abellio Joint Venture, the people who won’t allow a few elderly and disabled residents of West Lancashire a cheap off peak trip on empty trains despite their massive profits from a publicly subsidised franchise.

It seems West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is having to call on Arriva Rail North to get round a table with Merseytravel to discuss plans to save morning and evening services to Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations in Manchester for the benefit of passengers on the Southport to Manchester route. It beggars belief that these “significantly better” public services need to be saved at all. Just who do these people think they are and why were they given a franchise at all?

At present there are plans to end direct rail services to Manchester Piccadilly on the Southport to Manchester line. All services instead would terminate at Manchester Victoria. Passengers would be then be forced to change trains, walk, or travel by tram to get across the city but Merseytravel has indicated its willingness to consider running a limited service to Manchester Piccadilly for business travellers in the morning and evening rush hours.

MP Rosie has expressed her opposition to the current proposals under the new franchise held by Arriva Rail North, which would reduce existing services and hit many West Lancashire commuters travelling to work, university or the airport in Manchester. She said “By making all trains on the Southport to Manchester rail service use Manchester Victoria means passengers who work or attend university on the other side of the city will face further travel each morning or evening.

“I do not believe the current proposals for all services on the Southport to Manchester route to use Manchester Victoria is for the benefit of passengers, rather it benefits the rail company. manpic These service changes will have a major impact on many West Lancashire commuters and we need to find a better solution. I very much welcome Merseytravel’s willingness to sit down with Arriva and explore the option of continuing services through to Manchester Piccadilly even if it is only a limited service in the morning and evening when people most need that service”. The truth is, this Northern Powerhouse stuff is a gimmick, it’s bullshit, we can smell it a mile off. The national economy is slowing, who among us thinks the north will see many more Osborne trips beyond his own constituency?

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