I STARTED my commute last week by reading that TransPennine Express (TPX) had been taking some inspiration from The Bolton News — though not at all in a good way.
The firm, which runs dozens of trains through Bolton each day, was obviously impressed that my colleague, Elaine O’Flynn, has taken our readers’ fight to improve local trains all the way to London.
So impressed, in fact, that TPX has decided to do some business of its own in the South — by moving trains from the north to Oxfordshire.
Yes, you read correctly. This is not a joke — though some say the decision is.
From April, 2015, at least nine trains currently used on the Manchester to Hull line will be moved down South because, apparently, additional trains are needed down there.
Rail union RMT called the move “outrageous and scandalous”.
General secretary Bob Crow said: “This move is nothing short of a scandal and ignores the fact that FTX is already the most overcrowded train service in the UK.
“(This) will lead to absolute chaos and dangerous overcrowding. The North loses again.”
The chairwoman of the government’s transport committee, Louise Ellman MP, agreed, while FTX and the government, it seems, have sidestepped the issue, blaming a company that leases the trains to FTX for the switch.
It is all well and good blaming someone else, but why was FTX not prepared?
Could it not have come up with a contingency plan?
I am extremely proud of the people of Bolton for showing how they feel about “cattle truck” trains, by signing our petition which Elaine took to Downing Street.
So to see FTX doing something that flies in the face of the campaign is very disappointing indeed.