Rail Users attack government rail cuts and blame privatisation
Hexham Courant: 16/12/2005
'We must fight tooth and nail for services'
THE committee of the Tyne Valley Rail Users? Group was disappointed to read Roy Bell?s letter (Courant Letters, December 9).
The group is convinced that all station closures and service reduction must be fought tooth and nail if we are to have any chance of preventing them.
The review of Northern Rail services is being carried out in secret.The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport has written that the Government anticipates ?development of detailed options early next year with consultation as necessary when decisions are made?.
Note the wording. They will consult, but not before, decisions are made.
All stations west of Hexham appear to be under threat in this review, and some stations east of Hexham are at risk.
We are well aware that many of the financial problems plaguing the railway result directly from the flawed privatisation, which resulted in a fragmented and ruinously expensive structure. Most of the problems inherent in this financial structure have been maintained by the present Government's refusal to stem the haemorrhaging of money.
Current Government policy seems to be to chip away at stopping services. This will inevitably lead to increased traffic congestion and carbon emissions at a time when it claims to want to reduce them.
Any substitution of rail services by buses, as proposed, will result in increased journey times and further congestion.
The closure of any of these rural stations will save little or no money in the overall scheme of things.
What these communities need are more trains on a sensible, usable, stopping pattern, not fewer trains or no trains at all.
Roy is right to say that a Government committed to public transport will change matters, but if we sit back and do nothing then we risk the station closures and service reductions that the Government appear to be planning.
Hon. Treasurer and Membership Secretary,
Tyne Valley Rail Users Group