MP steps up campaign to stop cuts to North West rail services
Local MP Tim Farron has demanded a meeting with Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander, as he steps up his campaign against cuts to rail services in the North West. As part of the negotiations for the new Cross Country franchise, the Department for Transport is proposing terminating all services from the North West to the South West and South coast at Birmingham and reducing the number of services from the Windermere and Furness branch lines to Manchester Airport.
Tim has met with representatives of Passenger Focus (the successor to the Rail Passengers Council) who have conducted research showing that the changes would result in a loss of 2.8 million passenger journeys a year. This would either mean increased congestion on the M6, or a blow to the tourist industry in areas like the Lake District as leisure travellers decide to go elsewhere.
Speaking after his meeting with Passenger Focus, Tim said: "It's clear that these proposals are not in the interest of the travelling public in the North West. I'm determined to fight them, and have already secured cross party support on a Parliamentary Motion against the proposals. Futhermore, I will be proposing a motion to the forthcoming Liberal Democrats' North West Regional Conference to enlist more support in my campaign.
"When I officially reopened Windermere station on Monday, I said that investment in the railways would lead to more people using trains, reducing congestion and improving the environment. The Department for Transport's proposals are a backwards step in trying to achieve this aim."