Thank you to everyone involved in yesterday’s rail tour, part of our ECO-nomy campaign.
Taking a stall to the rails created lots of interest and discussion among passengers and railway staff alike.
The tour raised awareness of and supported opposition to the proposals (including fare rises and service cuts) outlined in the government consultation for the Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises.
With Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and Batley & Spen MP Mike Wood already supporting Early Day Motion 174 (http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/174) which condemns the proposals, the tour focused on the Colne Valley and Dewsbury constituencies.
We visited Dewsbury, Honley, Huddersfield and Stocksmoor stations using three Northern trains and one TransPennine Express train (see Tour photos and blog below). A delay meant we had to cancel the legs to and from Slaithwaite station!
We collected RMT/ ASLEF postcards to support EDM 174. The 80 postcards from passengers from 11 Yorkshire constituencies included from 23 from constituents of Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and 25 from constituents of Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell.
We also invited Colne Valley and Dewsbury constituents to record comments (see below). These comments will be included in an open letter to each of these local MPs.
The Government and ‘Rail North’ (an obscure coalition of Northern councils) have presented proposals for rail services in the north which will mean cuts to funding, fare rises and service and timetable cuts. Passenger services and safety will be worsened by the introduction of driver only operation, the sacking and reducing safety role of train guards/conductors and station de-staffing and ticket office closures.
As a key part of our ECO-nomy campaign, in the coming months we will continue to support campaigns to re-nationalise the rail system and to oppose cuts to services and fare rises.
Tour photos and blog
We invited Colne Valley and Dewsbury constituents to record comments for this blog and an open letter to their MP. The two framing questions were:
(A) Can you tell me about a time when the guard made a difference to your journey?
(B) What worries you most about these proposals for the new franchises?
Leg 1 (9:17): Honley to Stocksmoor (Northern Trains)
(A) “The guard saves me time every commute. I get on at Honley and can pay on the train so I don’t need to queue at Huddersfield station for 10 minutes to pay my fare.” Steve, 62, Honley HD9
(A) “There have been lots of times when I’m running from college and the guard has held the train for a few seconds to make sure I’ve got on.” James 17, Shepley HD8
(B) “The train service through the Holme Valley is a key service for a lot of commuters. I’ve noticed personally over the last year or so that the number of passengers getting on at Honley has doubled. More people are using the service rather than less. Cuts to services just don’t make any logical sense.” Steve, 62, Honley HD9
(B) “The service is expensive as it is. It’s lacking as it is: not enough carriages, often not on time.” James 17, Shepley HD8
Leg 2 (9:32): Stocksmoor to Huddersfield (Northern Trains)
(A) “The conductor helped me reduce the price of my ticket by telling me to buy two singles.” Val, late fifties, Skelmanthorpe HD8
(A) “The guard was very helpful. I was slightly late on my bike. He stopped the train and saved me an hour’s wait at Stocksmoor.” Julian, 50, Stocksmoor HD4
(B) “I couldn’t really live in Stocksmoor without this transport. I’m sure it’s the same for people in the other outlying villages. The bus service is poor and expensive. Putting up train fares would mean many couldn’t afford to use the service.” Debbie, Sixties, Thurstonland HD4
(B) “Already it’s absolutely wrong that afternoon peak prices have been introduced.” Val, late Fifties, Skelmanthorpe HD8
Leg 3 (9:59): Huddersfield to Dewsbury (Northern Trains)
(A) “The guard gave us assistance onto the train. He carried my 83 year-old sister-in-law’s cases across the platform. He made the journey a lot easier.” Gwen, 63, Holmbridge HD9
(A) “Last week, I was on train to Liverpool with a lady friend. There were some funny characters in the carriage. If the guard hadn’t been coming back and forth through the train, we would have felt quite vulnerable.” Ann, Forties, Dewsbury WF12
(B) “While nationally we’re talking about high speed rail fifteen years into the future, these franchise proposals will move the North in the next few years further away from affordable, reliable and integrated public transport.” Iain, 41, Honley HD9
On Dewsbury platform (from 10:14)
(B) “What will happen if there is a problem with the driver and there’s no guard to help us?” Ann, 46, Mirfield WF14
Leg 4 (10:46): Dewsbury to Huddersfield (TransPennine Express)
(A) “When we went to Barnsley Metrodome once, the guard warned us about the train being crowded after a football match. We came back on the earlier train.” Hope, 9, Honley HD9
(B) “We don’t have a car to stop the world getting warm so these plans feel unfair. We are making the right choices. We need an even better railway.” Hope, 9, Honley HD9
On Huddersfield platform (from 10:55)
(A) “The guard helped me to split my tickets. He saved me over £5.” Mita, 40, Honley HD9
(B) “These proposals aren’t what the public need. They seem to deliver cuts for us and guarantee profits for the private operators.” Mita, 40, Honley HD9
Leg 5 (11:15): Huddersfield to Slaithwaite (Northern Trains)
Train delayed until 11:23 (making return connection for Leg 6 unlikely). Consequently, we were unable to complete the tour with this leg and the return leg [Leg 6 (11:33): Slaithwaite to Huddersfield (Northern Trains)]
Waiting for departure! …
(A) “The guard helped us get on and off the train when we had lots of heavy bags.” Ray, 6, Honley HD9
(B) “I travel from Marsden to Leeds. I can buy my ticket from the guard and catch the connecting train in Huddersfield. Without the guard, I would miss the train in Huddersfield or have to leave an hour earlier to buy a ticket in Huddersfield.” Sue, 59, Marsden HD7
(B) “When we go on the train, we sometimes meet new people. They ask me about football and things.” Ray, 6, Honley HD9
You can read more about the RMT campaign on a page that includes briefings, newsletters and video clips.
You can contact your MP to ask them to support EDM 174 on
A key part of our ECO-nomy campaign will be supporting the campaigns to re-nationalise the rail system and to oppose cuts to services and fare rises. You can read how this links to mitigating climate change on https://kirkleescampaignagainstclimatechange.wordpress.com/campaigns/
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