Hull council leader's anger at lack of consultation over 'decimation' of rail services to Bridlington

A council leader has hit out at plans to “decimate” train services between Hull and Bridlington and said affected local authorities had not been properly consulted about the intended changes.

Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council
Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council

Under new timetable changes being introduced in November, services between Hull and Bridlington are being reduced from two daytime trains per hour to just one outside of some peak hours. Evening services on the route are also being cut.

The affected services are operated by Northern, which is under Government control.

Speaking at a board meeting of the Transport for the North in Manchester yesterday, Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council, said he was unhappy at the current lack of representation for both his local authority and neighbouring East Riding on TfN’s Rail North Committee, which gives feedback to rail operators on proposed changes.

Coun Hale said: “Proposals to literally decimate the services between us and effectively choke our city centre economy, we haven’t been formally consulted on at all nor have our colleagues in the East Riding.

“That’s not acceptable. There needs to be a full and frank discussion about that, that we’re involved in, and not just finding out about after and then feeding into the process.

“We have to be formally consulted as a local authority and I speak on behalf of ourselves and our East Riding colleagues on this because we’re not happy, and you probably can tell that.

“We’ve always felt fully part of this organisation but on this issue, we feel that we’ve had less say than when the franchises were privately run and it’s something that we need to resolve.”

Speaking earlier in the meeting, Coun Hale asked for a decision in future membership of the Rail North committee to be delayed to consider adding a representative from Hull or East Riding.

The Labour politician said the current arrangement where North Lincolnshire represents their area on the other side of the Humber is not sufficient.

“There’s enormous disquiet at the decimation of some services in the East Riding and Hull and we’ve not been consulted formally as local authorities on that at all, because it goes through this forum.

"It’s not in any way a criticism our colleagues from North Lincolnshire, but what I will say was we did write to TfN as Hull and East Riding and ask that as clearly our South Bank authorities have no interest in a devolution partnership with ourselves on the North Bank, whether we should have separate representation on the Rail North committee and were told that couldn’t happen. I’m still at a loss as to why that can’t happen.

“This isn’t out of the blue because we did give notice and right and just to add to the point that is not a political point because ourselves and obviously the East Riding is a Conservative-run authority but we are as one at this point.”

The meeting agreed to defer a decision on future membership of the committee.

Responding to Coun Hale’s point about the Hull to Bridlington line reduction, TfN chief executive Martin Tugwell said the organisation has asked for a formal review of the decision, which he said is currently “not acceptable” to either TfN or the two local authorities.

Richard Hannigan, deputy leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “It has to be said that I did object vociferously to the change that has been made to the Bridlington line because as Councillor Hale points out connectivity between East Riding towns and the city of Hull is not good, and any loss of railway services, seasonal or otherwise, is actually unacceptable.”

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