Our petition to improve Bolton's trains is going to Downing Street

The Bolton News: A typically crowded scene at Bolton train station A typically crowded scene at Bolton train station

OUR campaign against overcrowding on Bolton’s trains has hit 1,000 signatures — and we are taking your concerns all the way to Number 10.

Over the past three months we have been collecting signatures calling for an end to Bolton’s “cattle truck” rail service and asking train bosses to bring back axed carriages during peak hours.

Hundreds of you have thrown your weight behind our Let’s Get Back On Track campaign and shared your horror stories of commuting in cramped carriages.

The petition will be presented to Downing Street on March 5 — the same day as Bolton’s three MPs attend a crunch meeting with the Department for Transport calling for more carriages for “forgotten Bolton commuters”.

David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, said he was delighted the petition has reached 1,000 signatures and said he would continue to campaign for Bolton to receive a better rail service.

He said: “It’s excellent news and it clearly demonstrates that this is a really important issue for people.

“I’m now looking forward to meeting with the minister and presenting the petition to Number 10.

“We have got to make sure we get these extra carriages — we’ve been promised them for at least the past 17 years, while I’ve been an MP.

“This time we have got to make sure they keep their promises.”

MP for Bolton West Julie Hilling said she was looking forward to the meeting with Patrick McLoughlin MP.

She said: “I’m sure the Secretary of State will listen to us but whether he acts will be another question.

“We’ve got to continue to keep the pressure on the Department for Transport to make sure we have a decent railway in Bolton — and this battle isn’t going to be won in a day.”

And MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi said she was proud to have been a part of the campaign.

She said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant campaign by The Bolton News, and just what a local newspaper should be doing, standing up for the local people and fighting on the issues that matter.

“Now we’re taking it to Number 10 and I’m looking forward to being with The Bolton News as they present it.”

A reporter and photographer from The Bolton News will be taking the Let’s Get Back On Track petition to Downing Street on March 5 — and we still need as many signatures as possible.

To sign the petition, call into our town centre offices or download your own copy and collect signatures.

People can also sign an online petition here.

Forms can be picked up from The Bolton News office in the Wellsprings building next to the town hall.

Please return completed petitions to Let’s Get Back On Track, Editorial Department, The Bolton News, The Wellsprings, Civic Centre, Bolton, BL1 1AR.

If you would like to have a petition in your shop, call 01204 537239.

Comments (5)

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12:46pm Mon 24 Feb 14

The Righteous One says...

Thank you for your email of 27 January to Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, regarding Bolton train services; I have been asked to respond.

When the Northern franchise was let in 2004 there was not expected to be any growth in passenger demand. Since the start of the franchise Northern has seen passenger numbers increase by around 40% across the franchise. Although the popularity of the railway is to be welcomed, it has led to some trains being crowded, particularly at peak times. Additional carriages were provided to Northern in 2008 and 2011 because of this growth.

Within their franchise agreement, Northern is required to use all reasonable endeavours to provide a minimum number of places on around 250 peak services each week day. The delivery of this capacity is monitored by Northern and discussed regularly with the DfT and Transport for Greater Manchester as well as other stakeholders.

The train service between Manchester and Bolton is sponsored and specified by Transport for Greater Manchester. You may wish to make your concerns known to them if you have not done so already.

It is important to remember that safety is the first priority of rail operations and a recent European Union report found that the UK has the safest rail network of all EU members – see http://ec.europa.eu/


commission_2010-2014


/kallas/headlines/ne


ws/2013/01/doc/swd(2


013)-10-part3.pdf for details.

With regard to the safety implications of overcrowding, I should explain that the body that monitors and enforces compliance with health and safety legislation on Britain’s rail network is the Office of Rail Regulation (‘ORR’).

It is for each train operating company to use its train fleet to best match the train capacity to the passenger demand expected on individual services. Operators are required to use all reasonable endeavours to minimise overcrowding.

ORR has advised me that there is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel on a train. This is because trains differ from other modes of transport, such as buses and aeroplanes, where passenger numbers can affect stability. Trains are designed to operate safely and effectively even when they are loaded to maximum capacity.

The structural design of rail vehicles takes account of the maximum load including crowded conditions. In addition, the interior design contain features that minimise passenger injury in the event of an accident

It is true that in the event of a serious accident – a rare event in itself – on a heavily loaded train, it is an inescapable fact that the more passengers there are on the train, the greater the number of passengers at risk. However, research into a number of train accidents has shown that crowding itself did not contribute to the severity of the incident or to any injuries incurred.

You may wish to look at the policy statement issued by ORR on its website at
http://www.rail-reg.


gov.uk/upload/pdf/tr


ain_crowding_positio


n_statement.pdf

As you may be aware, the Department for Transport has also announced additional investment in the railways of Northern England over the next few years. This includes electrification between Liverpool and Manchester, in Lancashire and in due course, between Manchester and York via Huddersfield. The works to deliver electrification between Manchester, Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool are under way. As well as offering longer trains and faster journeys on these routes, electrification means that diesel trains currently used between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool will become available to provide additional capacity for passengers across the railways of Northern England.

The second section of the Liverpool to Manchester line – between Liverpool and Newton-le-Willows – will be available for use by electric trains from December 2014. Once electric trains are able to operate on the Liverpool to Manchester line, it will be possible for the diesel trains used on local services along the route to transfer to provide additional capacity for passengers on other routes. It will be for the rail industry to develop plans for the redeployment of these diesel trains after 2014.

If Northern were to provide additional diesel trains for services between Bolton and Manchester prior to December 2014, they would have to come from within the Northern fleet or from a Rolling Stock Company. The Northern Franchise Agreement requires the operator to use its entire fleet of trains (allowing for normal maintenance) at peak times. It is for Northern to determine, based on the passenger demand on individual services, whether any changes can be made to reallocate carriages between the routes that they operate.

As I said, Transport for Greater Manchester sponsor and specify local services within Greater Manchester. If diesel rolling stock can be made available prior to December 2014, it would be for them to work with Northern on how best carriages might be redeployed from other local train services. It would be for Transport for Greater Manchester and the operators to develop the business case and any necessary funding for the provision of additional carriages for train services that call at Bolton.

Kind regards

Alistair Hobbs
Correspondence Manager
Rail Commercial
Thank you for your email of 27 January to Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, regarding Bolton train services; I have been asked to respond. When the Northern franchise was let in 2004 there was not expected to be any growth in passenger demand. Since the start of the franchise Northern has seen passenger numbers increase by around 40% across the franchise. Although the popularity of the railway is to be welcomed, it has led to some trains being crowded, particularly at peak times. Additional carriages were provided to Northern in 2008 and 2011 because of this growth. Within their franchise agreement, Northern is required to use all reasonable endeavours to provide a minimum number of places on around 250 peak services each week day. The delivery of this capacity is monitored by Northern and discussed regularly with the DfT and Transport for Greater Manchester as well as other stakeholders. The train service between Manchester and Bolton is sponsored and specified by Transport for Greater Manchester. You may wish to make your concerns known to them if you have not done so already. It is important to remember that safety is the first priority of rail operations and a recent European Union report found that the UK has the safest rail network of all EU members – see http://ec.europa.eu/ commission_2010-2014 /kallas/headlines/ne ws/2013/01/doc/swd(2 013)-10-part3.pdf for details. With regard to the safety implications of overcrowding, I should explain that the body that monitors and enforces compliance with health and safety legislation on Britain’s rail network is the Office of Rail Regulation (‘ORR’). It is for each train operating company to use its train fleet to best match the train capacity to the passenger demand expected on individual services. Operators are required to use all reasonable endeavours to minimise overcrowding. ORR has advised me that there is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel on a train. This is because trains differ from other modes of transport, such as buses and aeroplanes, where passenger numbers can affect stability. Trains are designed to operate safely and effectively even when they are loaded to maximum capacity. The structural design of rail vehicles takes account of the maximum load including crowded conditions. In addition, the interior design contain features that minimise passenger injury in the event of an accident It is true that in the event of a serious accident – a rare event in itself – on a heavily loaded train, it is an inescapable fact that the more passengers there are on the train, the greater the number of passengers at risk. However, research into a number of train accidents has shown that crowding itself did not contribute to the severity of the incident or to any injuries incurred. You may wish to look at the policy statement issued by ORR on its website at http://www.rail-reg. gov.uk/upload/pdf/tr ain_crowding_positio n_statement.pdf As you may be aware, the Department for Transport has also announced additional investment in the railways of Northern England over the next few years. This includes electrification between Liverpool and Manchester, in Lancashire and in due course, between Manchester and York via Huddersfield. The works to deliver electrification between Manchester, Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool are under way. As well as offering longer trains and faster journeys on these routes, electrification means that diesel trains currently used between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool will become available to provide additional capacity for passengers across the railways of Northern England. The second section of the Liverpool to Manchester line – between Liverpool and Newton-le-Willows – will be available for use by electric trains from December 2014. Once electric trains are able to operate on the Liverpool to Manchester line, it will be possible for the diesel trains used on local services along the route to transfer to provide additional capacity for passengers on other routes. It will be for the rail industry to develop plans for the redeployment of these diesel trains after 2014. If Northern were to provide additional diesel trains for services between Bolton and Manchester prior to December 2014, they would have to come from within the Northern fleet or from a Rolling Stock Company. The Northern Franchise Agreement requires the operator to use its entire fleet of trains (allowing for normal maintenance) at peak times. It is for Northern to determine, based on the passenger demand on individual services, whether any changes can be made to reallocate carriages between the routes that they operate. As I said, Transport for Greater Manchester sponsor and specify local services within Greater Manchester. If diesel rolling stock can be made available prior to December 2014, it would be for them to work with Northern on how best carriages might be redeployed from other local train services. It would be for Transport for Greater Manchester and the operators to develop the business case and any necessary funding for the provision of additional carriages for train services that call at Bolton. Kind regards Alistair Hobbs Correspondence Manager Rail Commercial The Righteous One
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Mon 24 Feb 14

The Righteous One says...

Therefore the DfT (aka the Government) is saying that there is NO problem - the safety limite for number of passengers is that there is no safety limit - therefore cattle are treated better than humans. Humans can get squashed to death as it is their own choice!

Uk has the safetest railway in the EU (I assume the people that did the report NEVER travelled peak time on Norther Rail)

Extra capacity HAS to come from either Northern Rail or TfGM and is NOT the responsibility of the DfT!

Therefore from this forthcoming metting expect nothing to be done as teh Government are tryibng to wash their hands of the problems that they and every successive government beforehand (since John Major's Government privatised the Railways) in the 1980's/1990's
Therefore the DfT (aka the Government) is saying that there is NO problem - the safety limite for number of passengers is that there is no safety limit - therefore cattle are treated better than humans. Humans can get squashed to death as it is their own choice! Uk has the safetest railway in the EU (I assume the people that did the report NEVER travelled peak time on Norther Rail) Extra capacity HAS to come from either Northern Rail or TfGM and is NOT the responsibility of the DfT! Therefore from this forthcoming metting expect nothing to be done as teh Government are tryibng to wash their hands of the problems that they and every successive government beforehand (since John Major's Government privatised the Railways) in the 1980's/1990's The Righteous One
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Tue 25 Feb 14

George X says...

All that effort for nothing HAHA.
All that effort for nothing HAHA. George X
  • Score: -2

9:58pm Tue 25 Feb 14

BWFC71 says...

George X wrote:
All that effort for nothing HAHA.
For nothing?

Don't know what you mean?

Or is it because no one commented? Doesn't matter if they do or don't the fact is the facts are there for people to be seen!

What is YOUR comment on the story - none because you are just a troll who ABUSES people on here and never comment about a story or letter you post on. You are NOT part of this papers community, in fact you are filth, nothing more than a piece of doggydoo's that people scrape from the bottom of their shoes when accidentally stood in it!

Hope you liked the fact I gave you a thumbs don - more than you deserve, by the way!

As I say I am not going anywhere, so put up and shut up, or you leave! And every time you post abuse towards e or any other poster I will show you up for the person you actually are - a pathetic sad lonely, bitter and twisted troll!
[quote][p][bold]George X[/bold] wrote: All that effort for nothing HAHA.[/p][/quote]For nothing? Don't know what you mean? Or is it because no one commented? Doesn't matter if they do or don't the fact is the facts are there for people to be seen! What is YOUR comment on the story - none because you are just a troll who ABUSES people on here and never comment about a story or letter you post on. You are NOT part of this papers community, in fact you are filth, nothing more than a piece of doggydoo's that people scrape from the bottom of their shoes when accidentally stood in it! Hope you liked the fact I gave you a thumbs don - more than you deserve, by the way! As I say I am not going anywhere, so put up and shut up, or you leave! And every time you post abuse towards e or any other poster I will show you up for the person you actually are - a pathetic sad lonely, bitter and twisted troll! BWFC71
  • Score: 1

8:28pm Wed 26 Feb 14

dougie kay says...

ls It going by rail???
ls It going by rail??? dougie kay
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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