RAIL bosses were accused of “disrespect” for not attending a crunch meeting as Hull MPs step up their fight to prevent the downgrading of train services from the city to Manchester.
From May a new timetable could see the TransPennine Express service between Hull, Leeds and Manchester having 10 stops, meaning longer journey times of up to 15 minutes, while other services are cutting up to 20 minutes off other routes.
At the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Hull North MP Diana Johnson said today she had never come across a business that refused to meet over genuine concerns, adding: “I think it is very disrespectful to the city, passengers and business community.”
Hull’s three MPs are to raise their concerns with Ministers and chief executive of Transport for the North Barry White. Ms Johnson said: “We want to know why we can’t have an express service, a connection for the airport and a half-hourly service from Hull to Manchester.”
Hull is the only city on the Transpennine network not to have a direct service to Manchester Airport.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dr Ian Kelly said they’d given Transpennine a couple of dates for the meeting some time ago, but they had responded by suggesting one at their own premises, with their own invitation list and a date “literally a matter of days” before the new timetable comes in. He said they couldn’t expect investors looking to put millions into renewables to fly to Manchester, to use a “worse stopping service when everybody else gets better services going forward.”
However the train operator claims journey times are only “marginally affected” by between two to four minutes. They are highlighting improvements to services, including the addition of a later direct train, along with hourly evening services to Manchester. A spokesperson said the timetable “will deliver enhanced connectivity for customers, creating new journey opportunities for those travelling to and from Hull when we begin calling at four stations in West Yorkshire. It also includes new hourly evening services between Hull and Manchester, providing a major boost to the Hull evening economy.”