RAIL companies and politicians across Bolton have welcomed the news that Number 10 will ensure more carriages on Bolton’s crammed railway lines.
More than 1,000 people signed our petition calling for an end to overcrowding and for government action to stop potentially dangerous journeys on Bolton’s railways.
Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail which runs services along the Bolton train corridor, said the announcement would have implications for travellers across the region.
He said: “This is fantastic news for our customers, not only here in Bolton but throughout the North West.
“Electric trains running between Manchester and Liverpool will in turn bring much needed extra capacity to the area and more reliable and sustainable journeys.
“Electric trains also bring job opportunities as we recruit more people to crew and maintain them.
“This is the first step to unlocking more capacity for customers across the north of England.
“We’re committed to continuing our work to campaign for more trains, better trains and electric trains for our customers.”
Bolton’s three MPs took up the cause, each presenting The Bolton News’ petition in Parliament, putting copies of the petition in their offices and taking part in numerous debates about the allocation of carriages with rail bosses and ministers.
MP for Bolton North East David Crausby gave a cautious welcome to the announcement by Mr Cameron.
He has been working on a solution to overcrowding for more than 10 years.
He said: “I’ll celebrate when I see it — but I think it’s great news. Congratulations to Number 10 for doing it and I’m glad that they have listened.”
Bolton West MP Julie Hilling said she was delighted with the result, having championed the issue in Parliament and with the Department for Transport.
She said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news, and I think it shows how when we work together we can get results.”
Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has finally listened and acted to increase the number of carriages and seats on our trains coming through Bolton.
“This is exactly what I, and my fellow Bolton MPs, asked of the Government when we met with the Transport Secretary last month.
“However, what I will now be asking the Prime Minister is whether he will act on the proposed cut of First TransPennine Express trains who will still lose one in seven trains next year to the South East.
“Although I am delighted with this news, I do not want the people of Bolton to be short changed by a sleight of hand from the Prime Minster, where he might be giving with one hand, but taking away with the other.”
Cllr David Chadwick, the executive cabinet member for transport at Bolton Council, said he was not convinced the announcement would make a difference.
He said: “This is welcome news but I’m afraid it barely scratches the surface.
“The government is playing with statistics with regard to carriages, promising an extra 3,100 by 2019. This simply is not going to happen.
“Since the electrification problems began, we have persuaded eight per cent of users at Preston and Wigan, who would have travelled through Bolton previously, to change their travel plans.
“Extra carriages will encourage more people to use the trains so they will fill up again.”
Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, said they have been campaigning for years for improvement and greater investment into the region’s rail network.
He added: “We will continue to work with Network Rail and other industry partners to deliver major projects such as electrification and the Northern Hub.
"Given that, we welcome the eagerly awaited comments made by the Prime Minister and we hope that the arrival of the electric trains on the Manchester to Liverpool route will be the first step towards resolving capacity issues across the busy network.”