Northern and TPE franchise chaos continues

Northern and TPE franchise chaos continues

9 December 2014

RMT Press Office

A meeting of RMT reps from across the Northern and Transpennine Express routes in London today pledged to step up the fight over the attack on jobs, services and safety as the Government’s franchising timetable for the services was plunged into further chaos.

Not only has the government confirmed via last week’s Autumn Statement that the Invitations to Tender (ITTs) for the new Northern and TransPennine franchises will be delayed into next year but there are now growing uncertainties at the DfT about the current TPE franchise extension and problems over the electrification in the Region that look like dragging on well into the new year.
 
Meanwhile, George Osborne’s well reported statements on replacing the lashed up and clapped out Pacer trains have failed to stand up to close scrutiny.
 
While the Autumn Statement  says: “The government will publish the ITTs for the Northern and TransPennine rail franchises in early 2015 [delayed from the original target of this month] and will specify a substantial package of upgrades including new services and modern trains in order to phase out the outdated Pacer trains.”
 
However, what was taken by many as a concrete assurance on the Pacers is blown away by another key paragraph in the Autumn Statement which refers only to “encouraging” bidders to replace the Pacers. When challenged on this, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said nothing to offer a firm commitment fuelling speculation that all that will happen is that the Pacer’s, a temporary solution from the eighties lashing a bus body to some rail bogies will, in fact, be “modernised” and not replaced at all.
 
Today’s RMT reps meeting also pledged to re-double the fight to defend Trans- Pennine routes still under threat - those services to Blackpool, Scarborough, Barrow-in-Furness and Windermere are crucial to the passengers and communities they serve and the overall economy of the North of England. The union has taken great heart from the fact that the RMT’s campaign has already saved the Cleepthorpes to Manchester Airport route.
 
Out on the streets, the union’s Chritsmas offensive, gathering support from the public, continues. The latest schedule of events is set out as follows, with RMT promising lively demonstrations and post-card distribution as part of the union’s on-going campaign.
 
LIVERPOOL LIME STREET
WEDNESDAY 10th DECEMBER 2014
07.30 - 09.00
Meet Outside Liverpool Lime Street Station
 
PRESTON
WEDNESDAY 10th DECEMBER 2014
17.15 - 19.15
Meet Outside Preston Railway Station
 
WIGAN
THURSDAY 11th DECEMBER 2014
17.00 - 19.30
Meet Outside Wigan Wallgate Railway Station
 
ROTHERHAM
FRIDAY 12th DECEMBER 2014
11.00 - 13.00
Meet Outside Rotherham Railway Station
 
BARNSLEY
FRIDAY 12th DECEMBER 2014
14.30 - 16.30
Meet Outside Barnsley Railway Station
 
HULL
SATURDAY 13th DECEMBER 2014
09.30 - 11.30
Meet Outside the front of Hull Paragon Railway Station
 
MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE
SUNDAY 14th DECEMBER 2014
11.00 - 14.00
Meet Outside the Arndale Centre, Manchester - Market Street Entrance -near Boots Chemist
 
SUNDERLAND
THURSDAY 18th DECEMBER 2014
11.00 - 13.00
Meet Outside Sunderland Railway Station (Taxi Rank Entrance)
 
NEWCASTLE CENTRAL STATION
THURSDAY 18th DECEMBER 2014
15.45 - 18.00
Meet Outside Newcastle Central Station
 
 
RMT has blasted the franchise moves as “a kick in the teeth for the travelling public and staff alike on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises , reinforcing the importance of the community standing alongside rail workers in the fight to stop the destruction of rail services right across the North”.
 
RMT has also pointed out the rank hypocrisy of Government ministers, particularly Chancellor George Osborne, talking up plans for a “Northern Powerhouse” in his Autumn Statement and for an un-costed and vague proposal for a northern “HS3” service, light years off in the future, while at the same time their current franchise plans on existing routes would rip apart services, jobs and safety.
 
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
 
“The big news on the fight over the future of rail services across the entire North is that we are winning. The Government’s whole franchise timetable for the Northern and TPE routes has descended into chaos and the victory over the Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport route is entirely down to the hard work of RMT members and their supporters and proves conclusively that campaigning wins. We now know that the pledges to replace the clapped out Pacer’s has also been exposed as nothing but hot air as the Government strategy for rail across the North unravels before their eyes.
 
“While George Osborne has been spouting yet another stream of rhetoric about a “Northern Powerhouse” in his autumn statement, RMT activists and our supporters in the community will be out in force across the region marking “12 Days of Christmas” with a renewal of our fight against the rail franchise carve up. We may have won on one important route but the wider battle is far from over.
 
"Our message is clear, the fight to stop the outrageous attack on jobs, safety and services under the Northern and TPE franchise plans continues right up to and beyond the festive season and the union is sending out the clearest possible signal to George Osborne, his Government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport operations.
 
“Let’s not forget that the core of the Government’s future plans for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, restrict services, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate. That attack on the fare-paying public has already begun with the abolition of a wide range of off-peak fares and only an all-out and coordinated fight can stop the savage assault on rail in the North.”
 
 
ENDS

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Tagged with: northern, tpe, transpennine express, rail north