The chaotic scenes at railway stations across the North of England in May which prompted The Yorkshire Post and other regional publications to demand Government action earlier this year may have dissipated from the height of the problems – but the experiences of passengers living in the Colne Valley demonstrates that the issues caused by the botched timetable rollout that month remain a daily reality for many.
Slaithwaite and Marsden now have the unfortunate distinction of being the home to two of the worst-served railway stations in the entire country. In Slaithwaite for the past 12 weeks, trains are more likely to have been cancelled than turned up on time; an extraordinary statistic.
Members of the Slaithwaite & Marsden Action on Rail Transport have described how the situation is ruining the quality of life for hundreds of families; with people unable to get to work on time and passengers waiting for hours for trains.
The situation in which late-running trains between Manchester and Leeds simply miss out the two stations in order to make up time is simply unacceptable.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has come in for a great deal of justified criticism for his department’s handling of the timetable rollout. But to his credit, he has agreed to meet with members of the SMART group next month to hear their concerns about the way in which they are being failed by TransPennine Express.
But this issue must not be pushed into the sidings by either Mr Grayling or TransPennine Express. Urgent and decisive action is required.