|... is part of a planned war
[Read this after the slightly earlier post "Our Battle", which talks of the specifics of the Southampton to Swindon / TransWilts / via Melksham services - link to earlier article]
Under the Greater Western Franchise, services are slashed ...
* Swindon to Westbury
* Trains stopping at Ivybridge
* Tamar Valley (Plymouth to Gunnislake)
* Liskeard to Looe
* Par to Newquay
* The Salisbury to Southampton local service only has a 1 year repreive
* The train service from Bristol to Severn Beach remains off peak only
In each case, one of the reasons outlined in my previous article for the "powers that be" to want to withdraw the service completely could be made. So I'm predicting a glooms future for these lines - I expect in 2 years time to see Ivybridge passengers for Plymouth taking the bus, and cars running over the viaduct at Bere Ferrers rather than trains. Express trains will fly past the site of Dean and Dunbridge stations, and extra freight will trundle through between. Severn Beach will be served by a bus running where the railway line used to be, and if you go down to the old site of Melksham station you'll find the railway land sold off for housing, and you'll hear the new residents in "Spencer's Gate", being built as I write, complaining about the all night noise of First's freight trains.
Will this happen elsewhere in the country too? I'm no expert, but I've just been looking through the new proposals for the East and West Midlands franchises, and the corresponding freight proposals, and the following services cause me concern:
* Watford to St. Albans
* Bletchley to Bedford
* Coventry to Nuneaton
* Walsall to Wolverhampton
* Stourbridge junction to Stourbridge town
* Birmingham to Stafford via Rugeley
* Stafford to Stoke on Trent local trains (already "temporary" buses to 2009)
* Crewe to Derby
* Nottingham to Skegness
* Nottingham to Mansfield
* Lincoln to Cleethorpes
* Derby to Matlock
* Doncaster to Peterborough via Lincoln
* Leicester to Loughborough local trains
* Cleethorpes / Grimsby to Barton on Humber
* Gainsborough to Grimsby
I have steered away from direct comparisons that say "our service is better used than theirs" in the past - I do not want to point fingers and I don not know of local issues. I suspect that some of these services mentioned will be lost because paths are needed for proposed freight services, others will be lost because a monopoly public transport operator wishes that to be, and that perhaps some will be saved because they're serving marginal constituencies.
East Midlands link
West Midlands link
Rail freight link - GB Rail
Government Rail Freight link
Freight on Rail
Written 2006-06-12 05:29:31
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