Our train petition going to Downing Street tomorrow

Our reporters Liam Thorp and Elaine O'Flynn with the petition.

Stuart Tilley signs our petition with reporter Elaine O’Flynn

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , politics reporter

THE Bolton News will tomorrow be handing our Let’s Get Back On Track petition in to Number 10 Downing Street.

The handover comes ahead of a crunch meeting between Bolton’s three MPs and the Department for Transport.

For the past three months we have been calling for an improvement to Bolton’s ‘cattle truck’ railway service, after First Transpennine Express announced it was running fewer services through the town despite the conditions faced by commuters every day.

Hundreds of you have been sending us your horror stories about cramped, stressful and even dangerous trips on trains in Bolton.

Samantha Iqbal, aged 38, of Captains Clough Road, Halliwell, said cramming people into trains is “dangerous and inhumane”.

She said: “People who use trains help the environment as that's one less car on the road.

“We should be supporting alternative modes of transport instead of making it an unpleasant, horrendous experience.

“Until better standards are introduced I would rather drive my car then be crammed like a sardine into a tin can.”

Julie Maitland, aged 48, of Fellbridge Close, Westhoughton, commutes regularly from Bolton to Manchester.

She said: “I have actually stood in the space that links carriages with four other people dirty, draughty and wet, as this was the only space available.

“Surely there is a health and safety issue with these overcrowded conditions.”

Hafsa Valley, aged 25, of Hobart Street, Halliwell, said she has been unable to board the train from Bolton station to Manchester on numerous occasions, meaning she is late for work.

She said: “We are charged almost £6 for this journey, which many times we are left stranded on the station. Getting a seat is out of the question. Something needs to be done.”

Andrew Thompson, aged 39, of Anderby Walk, Westhoughton, said he now battles the M61 to get to work instead of taking the train.

He said: “I thoroughly back this campaign to improve the train service as it should be by far the most efficient, and environmentally friendly way to mass transit.”

And Jo Kelly, aged 49, has moved to Manchester to escape commuting on Bolton’s trains.

Comments (4)

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12:29pm Tue 4 Mar 14

The Righteous One says...

1. Announced yesterday - First TPE are to lose 9 trains to Chiltern Railways, in teh South East - that means teh North is losing 27 carriages or in terms of average number of customers per carriage that is 3375 less passengers to carry and over a year that total goes up to 1,231,875 less passengers to carry!!!!

2. The DfT have lied by advising that diesel engines will be cascaded to other outes on teh First TPE network to alleviate the over-crowding!!!

3. The Government has ordered well over 2,500 new train units over which only 40 will be heading northwards and the rest are staying in teh South East (so basically there will only be 31 new units to cover the whole north consdiering we are losing 9 "newer" trains to Chiltern!!!!

4. The new electric trains that First TPE are getting are actually only on loan from another TOC (who are renting from a rail rental company0 and these new electric trains are only in operation for 3 years before they have to be sent back to the proper TOC in teh South East - so what is going to replace them???

5. The DfT have also lied about the availability of diesel engines considering Chiltern screms they want some and they get some - being stripped from another part of the rail network - robbing peter to pay paul as someone quoted only a couple of weeks ago in this very paper, from the rail industry!!!!

and then lets not forget about the letter I received from them blaming anyone and everyone else in the industry, apart from themselves, about the problem we have....

Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0300 330 3000
Web Site: www.gov.uk/dft


Our Ref: 96879

Your Ref:


19 February 2014



Dear Mr Postlethwaite,


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
1. Announced yesterday - First TPE are to lose 9 trains to Chiltern Railways, in teh South East - that means teh North is losing 27 carriages or in terms of average number of customers per carriage that is 3375 less passengers to carry and over a year that total goes up to 1,231,875 less passengers to carry!!!! 2. The DfT have lied by advising that diesel engines will be cascaded to other outes on teh First TPE network to alleviate the over-crowding!!! 3. The Government has ordered well over 2,500 new train units over which only 40 will be heading northwards and the rest are staying in teh South East (so basically there will only be 31 new units to cover the whole north consdiering we are losing 9 "newer" trains to Chiltern!!!! 4. The new electric trains that First TPE are getting are actually only on loan from another TOC (who are renting from a rail rental company0 and these new electric trains are only in operation for 3 years before they have to be sent back to the proper TOC in teh South East - so what is going to replace them??? 5. The DfT have also lied about the availability of diesel engines considering Chiltern screms they want some and they get some - being stripped from another part of the rail network - robbing peter to pay paul as someone quoted only a couple of weeks ago in this very paper, from the rail industry!!!! and then lets not forget about the letter I received from them blaming anyone and everyone else in the industry, apart from themselves, about the problem we have.... Department for Transport Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR Tel: 0300 330 3000 Web Site: www.gov.uk/dft Our Ref: 96879 Your Ref: 19 February 2014 Dear Mr Postlethwaite, 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: -4

12:46pm Tue 4 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

Is ANYONE really expecting any improvement to rail services, or for that matter ANY other services north of Watford? Get real. As all governments always treat the north as 'F**k you Jack, I'm all right - down south'
Is ANYONE really expecting any improvement to rail services, or for that matter ANY other services north of Watford? Get real. As all governments always treat the north as 'F**k you Jack, I'm all right - down south' wsw69
  • Score: 7

12:49pm Tue 4 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

PS to my last posting - let's hope these petitions are not heading south by train
PS to my last posting - let's hope these petitions are not heading south by train wsw69
  • Score: 2

12:51pm Tue 4 Mar 14

The Righteous One says...

wsw69 wrote:
PS to my last posting - let's hope these petitions are not heading south by train
Possibly get stuck on a train just north of Birmingham New Street or just south of Crewe!!!
[quote][p][bold]wsw69[/bold] wrote: PS to my last posting - let's hope these petitions are not heading south by train[/p][/quote]Possibly get stuck on a train just north of Birmingham New Street or just south of Crewe!!! The Righteous One
  • Score: -5

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