We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

MP calls for Westminster debate on West Coast main line

April 25, 2012 5:00 PM

Tim Farron MP & Cllr Andy Shine at Oxenholme StationSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to the Leader of the House, Sir George Young asking for a debate on the future of the West Coast Main Line and to allow all of the county's MP's to join together to make sure that commuters get a fair deal from the new franchise.

In January a process was started to succeed Virgin Rail as the operator of inter-city services on the West CoastMain Line, from December this year.

In his letter Tim says: "I am writing to request a full parliamentary debate on the issue of a new franchise for the West Coast Main Line."

"As you will be aware, in January an Invitation to Tender was put out to replace the current operator on the West Coast Main Line. This franchise will run for fourteen years until the introduction of the first phase of the high speed rail line in 2026.

"I hope you will agree that such an important endeavor deserves careful consideration in parliament. I am keen to ensure that all potential bidders for this franchise put the interests of passengers first. This means ensuring that operators do not increase prices whilst decreasing services. It is essential that the higher level of flexibility around timetabling set out in the guidelines for bidders does not lead to cuts in essential rail services for rural communities. For this reason I have invited all the potential bidders for the new franchise to meet with me and local railway activists in the South Lakes to discuss the best way forward for our region. I would very much welcome the opportunity to debate this issue in parliament and ensure that the new franchise will ensure the increased capacity that is so needed in our area."

Tim commented this morning: "The fact that there is a risk that train operators could be given the opportunity of a new franchise to increase prices while decreasing services is a big worry. I urge the Government to ensure that the successful bidder pledges not to do this. That's why I am also taking matters in to my own hands - I am prepared to back the bidder who offers the best deal for our area. I am calling for a parliamentary debate on the matter so we can make sure local residents are heard - loudly and clearly in Westminster."