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More electric trains in the north likely – Hammond

More electric trains are “likely” to be introduced into the north of England if the government’s ongoing commercial negotiations are successful, rail minister Stephen Hammond has stated.

In answer to a question in Parliament from Labour’s North Hull MP Diana Johnson about the rolling stock being shifted from TransPennine Express (TPE) to Chiltern Railways, Hammond said: “The Department has identified a potential solution. We hope to be able to make a formal announcement later this summer.”

He did not divulge details, but said the DfT is in “commercial negotiations” to develop a solution that is “likely to see the introduction of more electric trains into the north, in addition to the 14 Class 319s it has already announced, to release even more diesel units”.

He also added that the original decision to move the nine TPE class 170s to Chiltern was made by their owner, not the Department.

With regards to the current TPE and Northern Rail franchise consultations, Hammond was asked by Conservative MP Martin Vickers whether the DfT would specify that the highest quality of rolling stock would maintained on services out of his Cleethorpes constituency.

In response, the minister said that when the consultation finishes, “we will consider all the points made and look to specify the necessary rolling stock requirements in the invitation to tender to ensure that the best services are provided for people across the north”.

The issue of remapping routes on TPE and Northern was also brought up by Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood, the shadow transport secretary. She asked if the minister could rule out potential allegations of a “backroom deal” and let people know what is planned for their area.

Hammond stressed that the live consultation is indeed a “consultation”, which does not finish until mid-August. “And there is no question of any backroom deal.”

He also stated that he recognised the strong campaign being run by the Scunthorpe Telegraph and the Grimsby Telegraph in respect of their desire to maintain TPE services through to Manchester.

However, he did stated that within the consultation paragraph 7.7 states “bidders will be required to include plans, either in their core proposition or as an option, which would enable the withdrawal of all Pacer units from Northern services”.

The minister stated the he recognises the campaign of the two newspapers, but “as I have said to those newspapers, which faithfully reported my words, that this is a consultation and no decision has yet been made”.

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Karl Davis   11/07/2014 at 14:58

Lukewarm words from the minister here. We know that northern railway requirements are little more than an afterthought for all parties at Westminster, and I am still unconvinced of the government's commitment to any significant rail programmes in the north except the headline grabbing HS2. It is disgraceful that it has taken Hull Trains to offer to arrange the bankrolling of the Hull electrification, and it is even more of a disgrace that we now see civil servants prevaricating over whether the electrification will happen at all! The reorganisation of rail services in the north is yet again finding the wrong trees to bark up. The campaign on the south Humber banks to maintain links to Manchester are laudable, but why direct services from Hull to the airport were cut and not expanded was inexplicable to me. I also still see no sensible improvements for the Brigg line. That this route still has no daily service is little short of a travesty. Whyever transpennine and northern were separated is a mystery, but an even bigger mystery is why Norwich - Liverpool services are not classified as transpennine, considering they actually traverse the pennines! Surely it makes more operational and financial sense to merge northern, transpennine and east Midlands trains local services into one franchise, remove intercity services from the existing EMTand merge them with a Thameslink franchise kept seperate from the GN and Southern/Southeastern monolith? We have movement I suppose, but I don't see movement in anywhere even remotely approaching the right direction from the latest Westminster administration who are blind to the railway needs of everyone north of Peterborough.

John   11/07/2014 at 15:55

Class 319 Emu's - ex Thameslink??? No Aircon and very much old fashioned stock - clapped out (!) and "cascaded" from the Thameslink services. Better that the Class 140 Pacers - only just!!!

Swannee15   11/07/2014 at 18:53

The whole Humberside/Lincolnshire area has become a "Whipping Boy" area for railways. We have been promised reinstatement of direct trains to London from Grimsby/Lincoln only to have it cancelled time and again. Either East Coast have renaged on their promise or when private TOCs have tried (Grand Central etc), they have been denied paths. We now have the loss of the 170/3s to Chiltern (more trains sat in sidings except for 2 or 3 hours a day down in London) and the proposed loss of the direct Cleethorpes - Manchester hourly service. We already have East Midlands Trains treating the travelling public like cattle on the Southern route between Grimsby and Lincoln/Newark with a terribly infrequent service (on average 1 train every 2-1/2 hours) worked by Class 153's. These trains are now continuously overcrowded to the point, passengers are frequently been left on Platforms simply due to it been physically impossible to get any one else on the train. The case in point here is the 1645/1723 from Newark/Lincoln. This train is the only one in a 5 hr 23 min period (1437 previous, 2000 after). It was always a 2 car Class 156 until December 2012. As can be appreciated it was always busy, not only with commuters returning from work, but also, a lot of day visitors to Lincoln. EMT in their infinite wisdom, reduced this service from a Class 156, to a single Class 153. The overcrowding has been appaling, with the worst case were no less than 45 passengers were once left behind at Lincoln. Continuous complaints to EMT have basically been met with a "Two Finger Salute" and their attitude is just one of "If you don't like it, tough". The problem with this route, is that there is also a bus service between Grimsby and Lincoln via Market Rasen (the same as the train. And surprise, surprise, this service is operated by Stagecoach, ie EMT's owners. In their words, if you cant get on the train, you can always catch the bus, either way, we win. Humberside/Lincolnshire deserves far better services than we already get. Government has got to stop treating this area with total discontempt and allow us to have a decent rail service and been reconnected to the rest of the network rather than the present stop start situation we have at present

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