THOUSANDS of rail commuters have endured frustration, anger and delays since an overhaul and introduction of controversial train timetables in May 2018.
Operators Transpennine Express and more frequently Northern Rail have been criticised for poor service and timetable reliability.
Reports earlier this month suggested Northern Rail could be stripped of its franchise by the government.
But there could be light at the end of the tunnel and a few more trains!
Maddie Zygmunt is an MA multimedia journalism student at Manchester Metropolitan University and Mossley resident.
She also recently attended a meeting of the Greenfield Rail Action Group together with locals, including a number from Mossley, Stalybridge and Ashton.
All were keen to quiz Lucja Majewska, TPE’s regional development manager, about a new timetable to be introduced in December 2019 with the promise of improved services for passengers using stations on the TransPennine route.
Here is Maddie’s report and thoughts about the recent GRAG meeting at Uppermill Civic Hall.
From December, weekday Manchester Piccadilly commuters from Mossley, such as myself, can look forward to Mossley becoming a stop on the Huddersfield to/from Manchester Piccadilly trains.
These will be accompanied by extra trains to Manchester Piccadilly from Greenfield at quarter-to-the-hour from 6.45am to 6.45pm.
Additionally, there will be extra peak trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds at half-past-the-hour from 6.30am until 6.30pm.
Residents of Mossley could see wait times halved, making journeys to and from work less stressful while, also bringing back the connections between all four stations of our local communities.
Commuters who have asked for more direct connections to Manchester Victoria, can celebrate progress for this starting with re-turning connections to Stalybridge.
Trains to Liverpool and Scarborough will return to Stalybridge with the journey to and from taking 48 minutes which is considerably faster than previously.
This will also allow for easier connections to Victoria. Three trains per hour can be expected at half past every hour at Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria.
A total of 32 new five carriage trains will be introduced on services between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, York and the North East.
On the busiest part of the route between Leeds and Manchester Victoria, departure times for the ‘Express’ services have been standardised to every 15 minutes at 00, 15, 30 and 45 minutes past each hour at Leeds and Manchester Victoria.
Sunday service hours will be like weekdays with no extra peak trains.
The first trains for Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield from Greenfield will leave at 8.35am and 7.20am respectively.
The last train leaving Manchester Piccadilly will be at 11.35pm while, the last from Huddersfield will be at 11.27pm.
This is reassuring news, as Mark Ashmore, chairman of GRAG, explained: “Before, with Sunday services, students had great difficulty doing jobs in Manchester from around here because you couldn’t get in on time for a job.
“So, that is great news for those getting in just after 8am and not coming home until 11.30pm.
“I’m sure it’s [going to] achieve what we wanted to do which was publicity. These have been such fantastically great improvements.”
Lucja said: “Hopefully we have got a good story to tell this time around: more services coming in, more frequent, later, earlier.
“Two in the peak, two per hour in the peak so I think people that live in the area will see a marked improvement
“The fact we can put some bigger trains on as well will help.”
Overall, improvements to the December timetable appear to benefit many.
However, improvements still need to be made regarding disabled access at Mossley and Greenfield stations.
In response to this, Lucja added: “A lot of concerns were raised, especially with the disabled access and some of the fare issues,
“I will take them away and report back to Mark just to finish that circle as it were, just to make sure everyone gets the answers that they need.”
For updates please refer to:
• Greenfield Rail Action Group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/greenfieldstationusers/
• TransPennine Express website: www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates/december-2019-timetable-changes