North-East "being ignored" in new train plans, says MP

‘WE’RE BEING IGNORED’: MP Andy McDonald

‘WE’RE BEING IGNORED’: MP Andy McDonald

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Stockton/Hartlepool)

AN MP has said the North-East has been "totally ignored once again" in a Government consultation on rail travel.

The Government is consulting on future Northern and TransPennine franchises which start in February 2016.

Plans have already been unveiled for major improvements to Manchester train stations and the possibility of electrification of the railway lines to York or Leeds has been raised.

But Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said the North-East and especially the Tees Valley is being “totally ignored.”

In a written response he pointed to an Institute of Institute of Public Policy Research report which showed that for nearly £3,000 spent per person on transport in London and the South-East just £5 is spent in the North-East.

He also said current TransPennine trains were “third rate,” any investment in the North-East was confined to the Tyne and Wear Metro and the current franchise plans were likely to lead to ticket office closures and price hikes for customers. Stopping electrification at York or Leeds would also reduce the region to being left with mere “shuttle services to the 21st Century.”

Speaking to The Northern Echo he said: “I went to one presentation about rail with the secretary of Transport about this and all I could see on the screen was an arrow pointing North-East. That was our only mention. I went beserk. There’s nothing for us, despite the fact that we’re the only region outside London actually with a positive contribution to GDP. It’s like the North doesn’t exist at all outside the M62 corridor.”

Mr McDonald said he had sympathy with The Hannah Mitchell Foundation which campaigns for the North to have a regional Government. The Foundation has appealed directly to the Labour Party to promise to make changes if elected to the franchise to include new trains which it says should be made in the north.

A Department for Transport spokesman said major investment was planned for Northern railways, but also he conceded a ‘Northern hub’ would be centred on Manchester. He said: "As part of our plans, we have asked passengers what they would like to see from these new franchises. This will allow us to plan the best way forward so we can deliver a world-class network that drives long-term economic growth across the region.”

Companies will be chosen to run the new rail franchises in the coming year.

Comments (11)

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8:39pm Sun 17 Aug 14

Gamechanger says...

Better together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the rest of the UK, it also applies to the North East and the rest of the UK too. I cant work out if this government's anti north east stance is a deliberate policy position or just ludicrously naive. The north east is ready willing and able to contribute in full to the UK economy but we need the infrastructure that other parts of the country enjoy. I look to our North east MPs and the northern echo to seriously rattle a few Westminster cages.
Better together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the rest of the UK, it also applies to the North East and the rest of the UK too. I cant work out if this government's anti north east stance is a deliberate policy position or just ludicrously naive. The north east is ready willing and able to contribute in full to the UK economy but we need the infrastructure that other parts of the country enjoy. I look to our North east MPs and the northern echo to seriously rattle a few Westminster cages. Gamechanger
  • Score: 11

11:04pm Sun 17 Aug 14

loan_star says...

Gamechanger wrote:
Better together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the rest of the UK, it also applies to the North East and the rest of the UK too. I cant work out if this government's anti north east stance is a deliberate policy position or just ludicrously naive. The north east is ready willing and able to contribute in full to the UK economy but we need the infrastructure that other parts of the country enjoy. I look to our North east MPs and the northern echo to seriously rattle a few Westminster cages.
The north east has always got the raw end of the stick, no matter who is in power. Labour had over a decade to spoil us rotten and all we got was a bloated public sector, council tax and fuel rises and the closure of the Redcar steelworks.
[quote][p][bold]Gamechanger[/bold] wrote: Better together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the rest of the UK, it also applies to the North East and the rest of the UK too. I cant work out if this government's anti north east stance is a deliberate policy position or just ludicrously naive. The north east is ready willing and able to contribute in full to the UK economy but we need the infrastructure that other parts of the country enjoy. I look to our North east MPs and the northern echo to seriously rattle a few Westminster cages.[/p][/quote]The north east has always got the raw end of the stick, no matter who is in power. Labour had over a decade to spoil us rotten and all we got was a bloated public sector, council tax and fuel rises and the closure of the Redcar steelworks. loan_star
  • Score: 9

11:19am Mon 18 Aug 14

Mr A says...

Why?

Why is NE so poorly treated?

What have the people in the NE done thats so bad?

What makes us bottom of the pile?

Is it they are just jealous that we live in the best part of the UK?
Why? Why is NE so poorly treated? What have the people in the NE done thats so bad? What makes us bottom of the pile? Is it they are just jealous that we live in the best part of the UK? Mr A
  • Score: 2

12:34pm Mon 18 Aug 14

David Lacey says...

Current TPX trains (class 185) are virtually brand new diesel hydraulics. They accelerate like the clappers and give a comfortable ride. Sadly the Newcastle to Manchester Airport service is cr*p.
Current TPX trains (class 185) are virtually brand new diesel hydraulics. They accelerate like the clappers and give a comfortable ride. Sadly the Newcastle to Manchester Airport service is cr*p. David Lacey
  • Score: 1

2:33pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

The North-East has been forgotten full stop. The people of the North deserve better.
The North-East has been forgotten full stop. The people of the North deserve better. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: -1

3:06pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Ally F says...

Hmm, C158s virtually brand new David? I recall working on their design and development over 20 years ago now... Cramped interior due to the narrow vehicle profile allowing future tilting mechanism. Same with the East Coast MKIV coach - cramped for the same reasons. The tilting options promising faster journey times for ECML and TPX ended up on the never-never project pile once the Tories decided on privatisation. Hey ho it wasn't all bad, the lawyers and city suits did very nicely out of the Great Rail Privatisation Fiasco.

I used to commute from East York to Manchester Airport for a regular flight to Vienna. Initially there was an hourly direct service from Hull to Manchester Airport, then it was every 2 hours, then change at Manchester Picc, then the buffet service got pulled, then.... (you get the picture) Now it scarcely exists at all. Forget it on a Sunday - more often or not it is replaced by a bus journey crawling its way over the Pennines via the back of beyond at a glacial pace. Great for sigh seers with all day to kill, but stress central if you’ve got a flight tickets booked. If you've a flight to catch you drive to Manchester Airport - it's a no-brainer - there isn't a reliable enough public transport alternative.

East Coast mainline services to the north (Edinburgh / Aberdeen) and especially south to Kings Cross lack capacity. The East Coast Main Line still suffers from legacy reliability problems, frequent delays and disruptions caused by an electrification programme done 'on the cheap' 20+ years ago. It's not got the resilience of infrastructure that the West Coast Line where delays due to weather incidents and trains pulling the overhead lines down are almost unheard of. The East Coast route has had no significant investment in track, signalling systems or rolling stock since then.

The DoT Spokesman’s bovine excretion is of the highest calibre; there's nothing 'world class' about our rail networks. If you want world class have a look at Japan.
Hmm, C158s virtually brand new David? I recall working on their design and development over 20 years ago now... Cramped interior due to the narrow vehicle profile allowing future tilting mechanism. Same with the East Coast MKIV coach - cramped for the same reasons. The tilting options promising faster journey times for ECML and TPX ended up on the never-never project pile once the Tories decided on privatisation. Hey ho it wasn't all bad, the lawyers and city suits did very nicely out of the Great Rail Privatisation Fiasco. I used to commute from East York to Manchester Airport for a regular flight to Vienna. Initially there was an hourly direct service from Hull to Manchester Airport, then it was every 2 hours, then change at Manchester Picc, then the buffet service got pulled, then.... (you get the picture) Now it scarcely exists at all. Forget it on a Sunday - more often or not it is replaced by a bus journey crawling its way over the Pennines via the back of beyond at a glacial pace. Great for sigh seers with all day to kill, but stress central if you’ve got a flight tickets booked. If you've a flight to catch you drive to Manchester Airport - it's a no-brainer - there isn't a reliable enough public transport alternative. East Coast mainline services to the north (Edinburgh / Aberdeen) and especially south to Kings Cross lack capacity. The East Coast Main Line still suffers from legacy reliability problems, frequent delays and disruptions caused by an electrification programme done 'on the cheap' 20+ years ago. It's not got the resilience of infrastructure that the West Coast Line where delays due to weather incidents and trains pulling the overhead lines down are almost unheard of. The East Coast route has had no significant investment in track, signalling systems or rolling stock since then. The DoT Spokesman’s bovine excretion is of the highest calibre; there's nothing 'world class' about our rail networks. If you want world class have a look at Japan. Ally F
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Mon 18 Aug 14

st-george1 says...

Believe not all that you see nor half what you hear when a local Labour MP clutching at straws says anything about trains … and unlike some, I have neither the confidence or trust in Labour politicians or Councillors to do anything to benefit the people … just take another look at the neglected environment and life for the people of Middlesbrough and the other Teesside areas after 70 + years of local Labour mis-managed government and realise that Labour changes nothing … they really are the greatest economic vandals of all times, forced by their Marxist-Union paymasters and assisted by their Councillor allies to continue to ignore the working taxpayers, threatening to increase and add new taxes on family homes, fuel duty, corporation tax, pensions and whatever else … the so-called Labour crushers, the party that doesn’t work and when the fantasist Guardian newspaper labels the North East as the Uk’s Detroit, despite 13 long years of last Labour Government, one has to believe it !
Believe not all that you see nor half what you hear when a local Labour MP clutching at straws says anything about trains … and unlike some, I have neither the confidence or trust in Labour politicians or Councillors to do anything to benefit the people … just take another look at the neglected environment and life for the people of Middlesbrough and the other Teesside areas after 70 + years of local Labour mis-managed government and realise that Labour changes nothing … they really are the greatest economic vandals of all times, forced by their Marxist-Union paymasters and assisted by their Councillor allies to continue to ignore the working taxpayers, threatening to increase and add new taxes on family homes, fuel duty, corporation tax, pensions and whatever else … the so-called Labour crushers, the party that doesn’t work and when the fantasist Guardian newspaper labels the North East as the Uk’s Detroit, despite 13 long years of last Labour Government, one has to believe it ! st-george1
  • Score: 1

3:43pm Mon 18 Aug 14

David Lacey says...

Ally - look closely. I referred to the ONE EIGHT FIVES. Not the 158's. The former replaced the latter a few years ago. I went to Manchester Airport from Durham on Sunday morning. Changed at York. Otherwise fine. Check your facts friend.
.
Great message St George!
Ally - look closely. I referred to the ONE EIGHT FIVES. Not the 158's. The former replaced the latter a few years ago. I went to Manchester Airport from Durham on Sunday morning. Changed at York. Otherwise fine. Check your facts friend. . Great message St George! David Lacey
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Mon 18 Aug 14

David Lacey says...

Oh - I forgot Ally. The 185s were built by Siemens in Germany. Did you work over there?
Oh - I forgot Ally. The 185s were built by Siemens in Germany. Did you work over there? David Lacey
  • Score: 0

4:56pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Ally F says...

Forgive my conundrum David. No, the C185s post-date my foray into the railways. I got out just after it all was privatised as nearly future projects were canned. I worked for a sub-supplier to the industry, based near Vienna in Austria.

I was still the tired old C158s doing the TPX service from Hull to Manchester last time I looked, they may have cascaded down now to other routes.
Forgive my conundrum David. No, the C185s post-date my foray into the railways. I got out just after it all was privatised as nearly future projects were canned. I worked for a sub-supplier to the industry, based near Vienna in Austria. I was still the tired old C158s doing the TPX service from Hull to Manchester last time I looked, they may have cascaded down now to other routes. Ally F
  • Score: 0

5:12pm Mon 18 Aug 14

David Lacey says...

The 158s were replaced about 5 years ago Ally. They were awful. The bogs always clogged up. The 185s really are good - much better than 220 or 221 Voyagers, but not as fast, obviously. Should the electrification of the TP route go ahead then the 185s will be restricted to the Middlesbrough and Hull services I expect. Much faster electric trains could be introduced on the Newcastle line.
.
Incidentally the new IEP Hitachis will be here in 4 or 5 years time and will transform the Kings Cross/Edinburgh service.
The 158s were replaced about 5 years ago Ally. They were awful. The bogs always clogged up. The 185s really are good - much better than 220 or 221 Voyagers, but not as fast, obviously. Should the electrification of the TP route go ahead then the 185s will be restricted to the Middlesbrough and Hull services I expect. Much faster electric trains could be introduced on the Newcastle line. . Incidentally the new IEP Hitachis will be here in 4 or 5 years time and will transform the Kings Cross/Edinburgh service. David Lacey
  • Score: 0
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