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Wharfedale MPs Slam Rail Companies in Train Debate

Date: 20.12.18 | in: Transport | Tags: , , , ,

Two of Wharfedale’s MPs have hit out at train operators for their lack of reliability and the lack of progress on strikes that are causing “difficulties for the Yorkshire economy.”

John Grogan (Keighley) and Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) are seasoned campaigners on rail issues  but their activity has ramped up in recent months after a deluge of constituent complaints about the poor quality of service.

In a debate about the issue in the House of Commons John Grogan said:

“In my frustration, I have been considering who we can write to, so I am writing today to Deutsche Bahn, which ultimately owns Northern rail. We are told that we cannot possibly have nationalisation, but we have a nationalised rail company in Northern rail—it just happens to be German. The whole reputation of Deutsche Bahn is under threat here. I hope that, in the new year, a very senior executive of Deutsche Bahn will come to this House and talk to hon. Members from Yorkshire.”

“It would be remiss not to mention the strike, which is causing difficulties for the Yorkshire economy. There was some good news when it appeared that Transport for the North and, I think, the Government acknowledged that there would be a second person on all trains, but there seems to be an issue about the detail of what that second person would do. In Scotland, a deal was done where the guard would continue to have a safety-critical role—the driver would open the doors and the guard would close them. There are compromises that can be reached. Having beer and sandwiches at No. 10 is perhaps out of fashion, but we need Minsters to get the different parties together to end this strike and have proper negotiations.”

Continuing this theme Alex Sobel said “Many of my constituents travel from [Menston] to catch the train on the Wharfedale line, and they all find that the trains are overcrowded. Without the guard, they would really struggle to use that service, particularly as the bus and train times are not compatible with each other. They need that additional support when they reach train stations on the Wharfedale line.”

Mr Grogan was also keen to raise the issue of boxing day trains which are set to frustrate Yorkshire passengers once again this year. He said:

“One consequence of the disruption on Northern and TransPennine is that they are not fulfilling their promise—it was in the franchise—to run Boxing day trains. Northern and their franchise were meant to run 60 Boxing day trains this year, and TransPennine were meant to have proposals that would be funded by Government. There are no Boxing day trains in Yorkshire, but there are four lines in the south-east of England that will be running Boxing day trains.”

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