HOPE VALLEY RAILWAY USERS’ GROUP
The Department of Transport’s (DfT) stakeholder consultation document, for the next rail franchise for the Hope Valley, was released on 9th June
From this early guidance, the enhanced prospects for the stopping train in the Hope Valley do not look good. Despite our infrequent service of two-hourly trains for much of the week, there are no proposals for improvement and even the suggestion that services could be reduced:
‘We firmly believe the rolling stock on Northern services needs to be improved … But the more expensive the trains …. the harder it will be to justify current service levels where demand is low and to afford to improve services where demand is increasing. (p35)
This consultation invitation is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to influence the details of the new rail service for the Hope Valley. Passenger numbers on the line have been increasing: figures from the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) show a more than 60% increase between 2004/05 and 2012/13. Four of the five Hope Valley stations have more than 50,000 passenger journeys per year, which, according to Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) Rail Policy 2012 – 2025 justifies the provision of 2 trains an hour.
The Hope Valley line is highly valued by the Valley’s residents. In a major survey in 2012 more than 40% of households responded in some parishes and 60% of these said they would use the rail service more if there were a better timetable. We also believe that a better service would attract more tourists from Sheffield and Manchester and surrounding areas. Saturday is the only day of the week with an hourly service and this attracts three and a half times as many passengers as on Sundays, when the service is two hourly. A better train service would help to reduce road traffic and boost the local economy of the Peak District.
Although we have other proposals that we would like to see in the new franchise, such as for ticket machines on all stations and a better system for the collection of fares, HVRUG has one overriding objective:
The introduction of an hourly service all day every day including Sundays with all trains stopping at all stations.
We hope that you will want to support us in achieving this aim. Please write to the DfT concerning the proposed new franchise and to express your support for our aims.
By e-mail: NorthernTPEconsultation2014@dft.gsi.gov.uk
By post: Northern TPE Consultation Co-ordinator, 4/15 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road
London, SW1P 4DR
This is a matter of some urgency as the consultation ends on the 18th August 2014. Please feel free to use any or all of the information above or from our website www.hopevalleyrail.org.uk in your communication. Many thanks.
Kath Aspinwall (Chair) and Peter Gates (Secretary), HVRUG