TPE and Northern have shared their initial proposals for timetables with us but it’s been done on the basis that it is not widely disseminated, and not used for publicity and campaigning purposes. It’s for this reason that we have been reluctant to give out too much detail.
However, some detail of the proposals has come into the public domain, not always completely accurately, so it’s appropriate to list some of our concerns here.
TfGM and WYCA (that’s what us old folks refer to as Metro) have published their responses to consultation, and these are linked here.
https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/389/transport_for_greater_manchester_committee (item 09 refers, downloadable pdf.
They reflect some of our concerns, which are broadly as follows:
- A reduced service in both morning and evening peaks, particularly to/from Manchester where what is currently a half-hourly service in the evening peak reduces to hourly.
- Use of platform 2 at Marsden (no disabled access) instead of platform 3
- Loss of direct links between Slaithwaite & Marsden.
- Insufficient capacity at peak times.
- Where there are additional peak hour trains, these are at uneven intervals typically 15’/45’.
The responses to timetable consultation submitted by Railfuture Yorkshire also incorporate and endorse some of our concerns.
Under the umbrella of SHRUG, we met with both TPE (with both TfGM and WYCA in attendance) and Northern to discuss our concerns at length. We also made a range of proposals to improve the service at Slaithwaite, Marsden, Greenfield and Mossley. They have taken these on board and will see what changes they are able to propose. Some of the deficiencies in the timetable are easier than others to fix. Ultimately their proposals have to be approved by Network Rail.
Not everything about the proposals is bad. There are through trains to Leeds, and modest reductions in some journey times, a later last train from Manchester and earlier first trains on Saturdays. Overall, however, our view is that the initial proposal is significantly worse that what we have at present. We will have to wait for the timetable planning process to be completed, but will attempt to keep passengers informed as to what decisions are made, when and by whom.
There has been a second meeting with TPE, at which some proposed changes to the proposals were identified, but it remains to be seen the extent to which the proposed timetable can or will be changed.