Yesterday, Kevan was happy to start a debate on the Floor of the House on the subject of Rail Services in the North-East. In a 30 minute debate, Kevan outlined the grievances expressed to him by constituents, and we thank everyone who has got in touch with us to share their opinions on the service.
“I would like Transport for the North to tell me about another town like Chester-le-Street, where 30,000 people live, that has such a poor service and is totally disregarded. The facts speak for themselves, because train usage at Chester-le-Street is actually declining—it dropped by more than 9% between 2017 and 2019—and my hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Grahame Morris) saw usage at Seaham drop by 2.5%. There is this great mantra that we should be getting people out of cars and on to public transport, but the mess with the operation of the timetable is driving people off the railways, and that cannot be good for congestion in Tyneside and Teesside.
Turning to the point raised by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), I have to say that TransPennine is appalling. I hate using the term, but it is not fit for purpose. It could not run the proverbial in a brewery if it was given the instructions. It does not care about passengers. There is no information when services are cancelled. People turn up and they are told the train is late, and then it is just cancelled, leaving people to their own devices. No information or alternative buses are provided. The situation is not down to any lack of trying, because I have raised the matter directly with TransPennine officials, including at a public meeting I held with them two years ago where they said they would provide information, but they just do not care. Their attitude stinks.”
The full debate can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-04/debates/958CF5A5-D352-402F-8D21-3C6E2142910A/RailServicesNorth-EastEngland