Rail company accused of 'disrespecting' Hull by MPs after meeting no-show
Hull MPs Diana Johnson and Emma Hardy with the empty seat left by Leo Goodwin (Image: Jerome Ellerby)
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 12 Mar 2018
Hull MPs say TransPennine Express “disrespected” Hull residents by not turning up to a meeting with themselves and Hull business leaders to discuss plans that will “downgrade” Hull’s train services.
Emma Hardy MP and Diana Johnson MP both said that the rail company had shown disregard for Hull customers by failing to discuss their concerns about a planned timetable for May 2018.
An empty seat was left in the place of Leo Goodwin after the TransPennine Express boss did not turn up to the meeting at Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce to discuss proposed changes to the Hull to Manchester route, via Leeds.
The train firm announced proposals last year to add four extra stops onto the Hull to Manchester service, which the Chamber and rail consultants say could add 15 minutes onto journeys.
The move comes while TransPennine Express have announced improvements to services from Newcastle and Scarborough, significantly cutting journey times.
Diana Johnson MP said: “I’m very disappointed. The three Hull MPs wanted to the opportunity to meet face to face with TransPennine to discuss the changes they are putting forward and they haven’t shown up.
“We are really concerned but these negative changes fly directly in the face of the northern powerhouse, slowing the connectivity between East and West.
“We will see these changes effect journey times and it’s just not on. Over the last three years our services have been reduced already.”
MP Emma Hardy and Hull councillor Martin Mancey at the meeting (Image: Jerome Ellerby)
Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, agreed, saying that it was “disrespectful” to not discuss the issue, describing it another “nail in the coffin” for private rail companies.
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She said: “They need to listen to our concerns. We want better connectivity, and that does not mean we object to smaller stations being included on the service as they should be connected, but we would like to see more express services additionally.
“To not even show is a huge disappointment, and I think it is completely disrespectful to people in Hull, and highlights a disregard for our concerns.
“We are seeing all sorts of problems with these huge train companies. They are part of First Group which also own Hull Trains. They have not given that support for travellers from Hull – this is another nail in the coffin for private rail companies.”
TransPennine Express say that journey times will increase by two to four minutes, despite the introduction of four new stops. National Rail recommends that four a half minutes is used up per stop on a service.
Leo Goodwin from Transpennine Express did not turn up to the meeting with Hull MPs (Image: Jerome Ellerby)
In a letter to Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce CEO Ian Kelly, TransPennine Express’ Graham Meiklejohn said he only received an invitation on Monday, March 5 and said that “incorrect assumptions” have been made by the organisation and rail consultant David Walford.
It said: “It would appear you have engaged a consultant, David Walford, who has made incorrect assumptions about the May 2018 timetable.
“The May 2018 timetable will deliver improved journey opportunities across the North of England through the introduction of earlier and later services during the week, 25 per cent more trains on Saturday and a doubling of train services on Sundays.”
The firm says the new timetable will improve connectivity between Hull and Manchester with new late services to be introduced.
The last train from Manchester to Hull is planned to leave at 9.34pm – more than two hours later than currently – and 10.30pm from Hull to Manchester.
TransPennine Express is owned by First Group, which also owns Hull Trains which has faced heavy criticism in recent weeks after maintenance issues severely disrupted services.
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