FIRST TransPennine Express (FTPE) has confirmed it will lose one in seven of its trains next year — to help ease overcrowding in the South East.
The train operator will have to give up nine of its 70 trains from April, 2015, so they can be used by Chiltern Rail in London and the Home Counties.
The announcement follows cutbacks in FTPE services in December.
The company stopped one service per hour through Bolton and axed peak time carriages — which prompted us to launch our Let’s Get Back on Track campaign.
We have collected more than 1,000 signatures from fed-up commuters calling for an end to overcrowding and more carriages on Bolton’s trains.
It is not yet known how the latest decision by FPTE will impact on Bolton’s services.
But David Crausby, the MP for Bolton North East, and one of the driving forces behind our campaign, said the announcement was a step in the wrong direction.
He has vowed to raise the issue with the Department for Transport during a crunch meeting in Westminster today, along with Bolton West MP Julie Hilling and Yasmin Qureshi, the MP for Bolton South East.
Mr Crausby said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable and a classic North versus South situation and as usual, under this government, the North loses out.
“It takes my breath away. It’s just incredible that they can make it worse.”
Nick Donovan, managing director of FTPE, said the firm was negotiating with the department about operating its services until February, 2016, which is the anticipated start date of a new, longer-term rail franchise.
He added: “Following the announcement that the Class 170 trains we use will be transferred to another operator when our current franchise ends, one of the subjects that will be addressed by these negotiations is rolling stock capacity.
“We need to maintain the significant capacity and timetable improvements that we will bring in from May this year.”
A spokesman for the Department of Transport added: “We are working closely with TransPennine Express to ensure essential passengers services continue to run following the end of the current contract in April next year.”