Commuters cram onto reduced Bolton train
THIS morning commuters packed onto a reduced morning train to Manchester and were joined by our reporter Liam Thorp.
IF I was to describe my Monday morning journey between Bolton and Manchester in a nutshell, I would say that it was not pleasant — it was cramped and uncomfortable, but it could have been a lot worse.
I was due to catch the 8.08am train from Bolton and as I stepped on to the platform I was preparing for chaotic scenes. There were a lot of people on the platform but I didn’t fear for my safety.
Commuters had been fearful after learning that the key First TransPennine Express service that calls at Bolton at 8.08am en route to Manchester, would be halving in size — from six carriages to just three.
The firm has explained how it has been urging people travelling from Preston and Wigan to change their habits and travel on a newly electrified line to Manchester.
This would avoid the Bolton-bound commuter train — and I would suggest that on this evidence, quite a number of people had heeded this advice. That being said, I only just squeezed on to the train and the entire carriage was full of people standing in the aisles.
I spoke to commuter Derek Beames, from Morris Green, who said that while this Monday morning was not as bad as he had feared, his daily commute is always an unpleasant one.
He said: “It’s always bad, and it is like this every day — you don’t need this at the start of the working week.
“Reducing this service is not the answer, we want to be encouraging more people to get on trains and these types of journeys won’t do that.”
During our Let’s Get Back On Track campaign, many commuters have asked why spare diesel trains, no longer needed on the newly electrified lines, could not be used to expand struggling services coming through Bolton.
But a spokesperson for FTPE said this is not possible, adding: “While we will physically have more trains, the Government policy which enabled us to procure these additional units means that we have a responsibility to deliver 50 per cent of the Department for Transport’s capacity improvement programme for the north of England.
“This means that the released units from the North West will be deployed to increase capacity between Man-chester and Leeds.”
The Lets Get Back on Track campaign wants to see additional carriages added to peak-time services coming through Bolton in order to help commuters who say they have been struggling with conditions for years, to support our campaign. Simply sign the petition which is in our town centre office.
Alternatively, you can download your own petition (Let’s Get Back on Track petition.pdf) and collect signatures, or you can sign online. Return signed petitions to Let’s Get Back On Track, Editorial Department, The Bolton News, The Wellsprings, Civic Centre, Bolton, BL1 1AR.
See tweets from my journey below...
08.15 Currently on board a now reduced commuter train from Bolton to Manchester, packed, nearly didn't get on.
08.18 People standing all through the carriage, very warm and not a pleasant start to the week for workers.
08.21 Derek Beames from Morris Green says "it's always like this, you don't need it at the start of the working week".
08.23 Train only stopping at Manchester Oxford Road, one passenger didnt know and will now have to dash across the city.
08.25 Our Let's Get Back on Track campaign wants to see more peak time carriages calling at Bolton and less scenes like this.
Comments are closed on this article.