TransPennine Express must rail lose franchise before towns like Scarborough lose more visitors – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Coun David Jeffels (Con), Seamer and Derwent Valley Ward, North Yorkshire County Council.

Rail services to Scarborough remain unacceptable, say local leaders.

THE dreadful rail service currently being provided by TransPennine Express – and the impact on passengers – has been highlighted by North Yorkshire County Council whose senior officers, and myself, are pressing for an immediate improvement.

The number of passengers travelling from Scarborough and Seamer to York and beyond who have suffered major disruption to their business and private lives for several weeks, is legion.

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TransPennine Express has launched a new fleet of trains but will punctuality and reliability improve?

At a time when people are being encouraged to use public transport to help combat climate change and congestion on the roads, the catalogue of cancelled services is totally unacceptable.

I have had many complaints ranging from students unable to return to their studies after a weekend at home with family, to people trying to attend a family funeral at Liverpool.

The situation has been aggravated by the announcement that the new half-hour service, due to have started this month, has been delayed to May. Services must be improved over the holiday period when the number of passengers travelling to and from Scarborough will increase significantly.

This photo shows the TransPennine Express operations room.

Residents in our area deserve a service which will be commensurate with their aspirations and enhance Scarborough’s appeal to investors.

From: Dr David Pendleton, The Crescent, Filey.

DESPITE its failings, I’m not convinced that stripping TransPennine Express of its franchise will make much difference. The problem is the system. The privatisation model imposed on Britain’s railways has encouraged operators to operate within their franchise bubble. A wider view of connections with another operator’s services, for example at Seamer, are of little importance. Similarly, offering a service to Scarborough is often abandoned in favour of punctuality on the core York-Manchester route.

The answer might well lie in a North Eastern franchise model, where the local and regional trains are brought into line with Network Rail’s operational structure. Then we might begin to see the rail network operated as a coherent whole.

However, I do wonder whether such an approach might be sacrificed at the altar of political dogma. For ultimately, it is the politicians who hold the power for change on our railways.

Whatever happens in 2020, TransPennine Express has to be cast into the dustbin of railway history.