Leaders pledge to work together to oppose loss of train services
Politicians have joined together to oppose controversial plans to cut rail services at Darlington station.
A letter signed by the leaders of Darlington Borough Council’s various political groups – plus MPs Peter Gibson and Paul Howell, whose constituencies cover the council area – has been sent to rail companies.
The letter calls for:
- The current plans to be put on hold, enabling a fully co-ordinated public consultation to be carried out
- Full and proper consideration to be given to the implications on all affected operators and passengers
- No loss of existing connectivity and/or service frequencies for Darlington, no increase in journey times and no detriment to existing connections
- More evenly spaced connections along the East Coast Main Line (ECML)
- An urgent industry commitment and plan to solving ECML capacity issues north of York, which are at the heart of this and have been well known for year.
Councillor Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “I have been clear from the outset: this council is strongly opposed to any loss of train services that impact on the ambition and connectivity of Darlington.
“Connectivity within the region and beyond is of the utmost importance and the need for good connecting services is critical. These proposed changes are detrimental to passengers and their ability to use the rail network to access jobs, education and leisure.
“The consultation that has been carried out on the proposed timetable changes so far has been complex to say the least, with four operators proposing changes to their timetables in four separate consultations. I’m not sure passengers will realise the impact, but people need to be at the forefront of rail services and we want to protect the services they rely on.
“Our letter is being sent to four train operators – LNER, TransPennine, Northern and Cross Country – at the same time. We look forward to their response. I am grateful for the support of colleagues from all sides of the council chamber, as well as that of our MPs.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “These proposed timetable changes are not fit for purpose and are simply unacceptable. We have an unparalleled opportunity to create good-quality, well-paid jobs across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, with the Treasury, BEIS and DIT coming to the region and this can’t be put at risk with badly thought-out service changes that will impact local workers and potentially hinder global investment.
“I strongly support this latest call from our MPs and politicians to put the changes on hold, and I have already written to the Transport Secretary specifically to try to pause LNER’s timetable change. I’ll continue to work hard to make sure our local people have the top-quality transport network that they deserve.”
““I have been clear from the outset: this council is strongly opposed to any loss of train services that impact on the ambition and connectivity of Darlington. ”
- Councillor Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council