Bolton rail passengers have faced five years of inconvenience and overcrowding with a promise that things would get better.
At the weekend it was reported in the Bolton News that Northern’s new timetable, which starts in May, will have a reduced service for Bolton.
I think most commuters will find this hard to take. After years of complaints about the poor quality of service and the lack of capacity, this feels like a continuing decline.
What hasn’t been widely reported yet is that First Transpennine Express are going back on their word.
We were repeatedly told that they would restore services to Bolton once the electrification work is completed. Today they say they will give us a train that comes through Bolton but won’t stop.
The Manchester-Scotland services will only stop in Bolton in off-peak hours. Even when they do stop they will only let passengers board when the train is heading to Scotland and you can only disembark when the train comes in from Scotland. You will not be able to use these trains to travel to or from Manchester.
Year after year we have been told this is about short term pain for long term benefits. I still believe that there are opportunities to improve the service through electrification but a half-hearted service to Scotland and no help for commuters is no step forward.
I will be writing to both train operators to ask them to meet with me and I will be raising my concerns with the Secretary of State for Transport.
For a more detailed overview of my work to hold FTPE to account on this click here.