Improving our local rail services has been one of my priorities, particularly in the last few years when overcrowding has become a major problem.
Part of that has been the battle for extra carriages at peak times between Bolton and Manchester. You can read more on my long term campaign here but the latest is that in December we were told an extra 571 seats would be available each morning.
Since then I have regularly used my social media to ask for updates from my constituents who use the trains for their opinions of the service. People have made it loud and clear that the situation has not improved, and on some services it’s actually gotten worse since Christmas.
People crushed together, people fainting, people who spend over £100 a month for a ticket being left on platforms, all of these come up frequently. The Bolton News has also reported several big stories showing just how bad the service continues to be.
Right after New Year I approached Northern Rail, Arriva North West (who will take over Northern from April) and First Group (who half run Transpennine services now and will take full control of the franchise from April) to ask for meetings about the future of our services and an urgent drive to ease overcrowding.
I will be meeting with Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and Network Rail this Friday and Arriva at the end of February. I will be sharing my constituents’ experiences with them and asking for clear steps to resolve the problems that Bolton residents face every day. Long term promises about improvements five years from now might sound nice, but I’ve been hearing promises like that for the last twenty years, local residents need real help now.
Credit to Russ Dunn for the video – The 17:06 service from Salford Central to Bolton 22/1/16