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Opinion: What do you want from your new train operator?

Posted on - 31st January, 2011 - 9:40am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Opinion, Transport
A Virgin Trains Pendolino on the west coast main line (c)Ingy the Wingy on Flickr

A Virgin Trains Pendolino on the west coast main line (c)Ingy the Wingy on Flickr

The time has come for Blog Preston readers to have some input into the new West Coast Franchise arriving in April 2012.

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As passengers, you are paying for the privilege of getting from A to B. In many cases the premium you pay covers the cost of a seat. If you are unfortunate, you are standing but thanks to the delayed, over budget, multi-billion pound upgrade of the west coast main line passengers can put bums on seats.

The Department for Transport consultation it is asking several questions to stakeholders and below are some that become significant to Preston:
 

    – Should the Euston-Glasgow service be enhanced to hourly?

    – What is the appropriate balance for London-Glasgow services between fast journey times with few intermediate stops and slower times with more stops?

    – Which intermediate stations should be served by Glasgow trains, and how frequently?

    – Should the spare off-peak path be used to provide an hourly service between Euston and Preston (or Lancaster or Blackpool) to serve intermediate stations, such as Warrington and Wigan, thus enabling these calls to be removed from the Glasgow trains, with consequent journey time reductions between London and Glasgow?

    – What is the appropriate frequency of service between Milton Keynes and north-west England?

    – Is there a case for allocating Pendolinos to some of the Birmingham to Scotland services (to provide greater capacity) whilst allocating 54 diesel-powered Voyagers to some Euston services so that direct trains can be operated to destinations, such as Blackpool North, that lie on non-electrified routes?

 

So what does this all mean? Well there are plans in place to boost the number of services between London-Preston-Glasgow. And there is speculation journey times to London, the economic hub of the UK, will be cut.

Other details could include introducing a direct service between Blackpool North-Preston-London under the new franchise – alternatively a new open access operator could operate on the new route offering competitive choice, as Blog Preston reported last year.

Passengers using the intercity route are fortunate enough to travel on modern trains but on the rare occasion suffer delays or other problems on the British rail network. But are you satisfied by the state of the railway station you use, and the affordability of a ticket to travel? Of course, part of your ticket pays for improvements and future upgrades. Whilst you can’t demand lower fares, you can ask for more railway improvements at your local station.

Do you want to see a clean and modern station fit for the 21st century? After all Preston was named as one of the worst in the country in 2009. What obligation – as the new operator will manage the station – should they uphold?

Click here to read the consultation document.

Have your stay and contribute to the consultation:
Email: [email protected]
Post:
InterCity West Coast Franchise Consultation Manager
Department for Transport
5/26 Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR

The closing date is April 21.

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