DESIGNED BY GETEXTRA
Threat to Beverley direct rail service
A Beverley councillor has launched a petition urging Northern Rail to reconsider proposals to scrap direct services from the town to Doncaster and Sheffield. Under the proposal, passengers would have to change trains at Hull and face a potential additional 25 minutes to journey times.
Councillor Denis Healy, who represents St Mary’s Ward on East Riding Council, launched his petition late on Tuesday (June 27th), having only learned of the proposal the day before, and within hours had attracted more than 100 signatures. It can be accessed via http://www.councillordenishealy.com and then clicking on the action file tab).
Under the proposal, which Northern Rail stress is only at the consultation stage, all services on the Hull to Scarborough line would start or finish at Hull when new timetables are introduced next May. Currently it’s possible to join a train Beverley and continue through to Doncaster or Sheffield for connecting services.
In addition to urging Northern Rail to reconsider the proposal, Cllr Healy slammed the train operator over what he described as “a very strange form of consultation”.
They have set a deadline of July 7th for comments from local councils and other “stakeholders”, including community rail groups, but Cllr Healy criticised the fact that there is no formal process for the travelling public to make their views known.
“I only found out about this by chance and when I contacted Northern Rail they sent me an email saying they were consulting with stakeholders over the proposal. My response was ‘hang on a minute, who are your most important stakeholders? Surely your passengers who actually pay to use the service’,” he told Beverley FM.
Cllr Healy continued: “I said to them, ‘if you won’t consult this very important group of people, I’ll help you – I’ll do it’.”
He said that with time being of the essence it was very important for people who used the services to make their views known before July 7th. “Beverley is not that well served any way, which is why so many people choose to drive to Brough to catch direct services. This is a backward and retrograde step; we want Beverley to be connected to the rest of the country and we should be looking to improve services not go backwards,” he said.
“They said they were consulting with local councils; all I can say is that as a local councillor no one at the council has made these proposals known to me and it’s pretty obvious this whole thing could have slipped through without the public actually realising the ramifications if someone else hadn’t drawn it to my attention. I hope there will be a big response to my petition and I’m fully prepared to take it to Northern Rail and make them aware about the strength of feeling.”
He said if the proposal to axe direct services was implemented it would mean passengers changing at Hull with a minimum wait of 25 minutes.
When contacted by Beverley FM, a spokesman for Northern Rail stressed there was no firm plans to axe the direct services but a proposal had been put out for consultation to gauge opinions.
He said: “As part of the ambitious modernisation of the Northern network we are currently consulting with out stakeholders on proposed enhancements across the North of England. The consultation covers the timetable structure from May 2018 to December 2019 and builds on the enhancements already planned for December 2017.
“Our proposals will see more trains out on the network, faster journeys and increased capacity on key routes during peak hours. This will all be supported by a fully-refurbished fleet and the early stages of the introduction of our new purpose-built carriages.”
The statement continued: “The consultation is in the very early stages – nothing has been set in stone – and we welcome all feedback on the proposals as we work to develop timetables which provide the best possible service to Northern customers.”
He said the public could respond by using Twitter (@northernassist) or Facebook (Facebook.com/northernassist).