Rail campaigners have set out their vision for how rail services in the North should be developed in the next few years.
The government launched a consultation in June and campaign group Railfuture has published their proposals.
“There is huge scope for improvement,” said Chris Hyomes of Railfuture’s Yorkshire Branch. “Of course, we want to see more trains and increased investment.
“The north of England has been the bridesmaid for far too long. Northern Rail trains are mostly old and unsuitable, and many Northern and TransPennine services are overcrowded.
“The Department for Transport must authorise the building of new trains as a matter of urgency.
“We also fear that there’s a deliberate policy of pricing people off the railway instead of investing in new capacity. We’ve noticed slight changes to ticket validity which mean that some passengers are having to buy more expensive tickets or are deterred from travelling.
“The government stresses that we must provide evidence for any of our proposals. Because we’re a long established independent organisation we’re best placed to offer an unbiased national perspective informed by local knowledge and experience of our members.
“For instance, we’ve identified an opportunity of the Hope Valley (Sheffield-Manchester) line for a Leicester to North West service. Leicester and Derby are the largest centres within 100 miles of Manchester without a direct train service from there “
The government has now announced its shortlist of bidders for the Northern and Trans Pennine franchises.
“As one door closes another one opens,” addeed Mr Hyomes. “We’ll be contacting the shortlisted bidders soon to discuss our ideas.
“Our local expertise will provide the evidence to boost the case for any improvements they propose, which in turn increases their chances of winning the franchise, so everyone benefits.
“We’ll be seeking to forge a long-term relationship with whoever the new franchisee is.”