In a recent report the Institute of Public Policy Research North indicated over £2.700 is spent per person on rail transport in London compared with £5 in the north-east of England. The north-west of England figure is little better at £134 per head. The Greenfield Rail Action group are appalled at the overcrowding in the disadvantaged north.
These figures don’t come as a surprise to the recently formed Greenfield Rail Users’ Group who have carried out their first survey of travel on the Huddersfield to Manchester line. That survey looked at the journeys for 45 rush hour trains. On no less than 4 occasions passengers could not get on trains because they were too overcrowded. On one scheduled to leave at 5.57 p.m. it was so overcrowded the station manager asked passengers to get the next train. He did not consider it safe to continue with that number of passengers. Luckily in this instance the next train was only 30 minutes later whereas most journeys have a gap of one hour.
Mark Ashmore from the Greenfield group says: “The franchise for trains which stop at Greenfield was negotiated in 2003 on the assumption there would be no growth but figures indicate numbers using the line since that date have increased around 33%. For that reason it is important the Greenfield group is able to provide as much information as possible to ensure everything is taken into account when the new franchise negotiations start in 2012. The Greenfield group need to build on the information already received and contact can be made through e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
In collaboration with the Stalybridge to Huddersfield line group the Greenfield Group are wanting an half hourly service as part of the new franchise and a continuation of links between Greenfield and Ashton which is not part of one of the proposals for the new franchise currently under discussion. Most trains, if not all, could go to Piccadilly, not Victoria, under these proposals cutting out direct links between Ashton, Greenfield and Mossley.
Royce Franklin, member of the Greenfield Group says, “The disparity in the relative costs per head between the north and the south-east of England will not surprise anyone. The situation has been accentuated by the funding for the Olympics. Unless this trend is arrested the already wide gap between the different areas of the country will intensify.”
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