20 April 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT HAS DISCOVERED that reports in the local press that new Northern Rail franchise holder Deutsche Bahn Arriva North will be introducing new 100 MPH trains on the Carlisle-Newcastle line by 2019 are unfounded.
The company’s managing director, Alex Hynes, was guest speaker at a meeting of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line in Carlisle when he reportedly told the local News & Star that passengers would see the new trains operating at higher speeds on the line.
After investigation by local RMT officials, it turns out that in fact trains for the Carlisle-Newcastle route will be refurbished 158 trains that were built for British Rail over 25 years ago.
Even if new stock could be provided, the maximum speed on the line is 65 mph. Network Rail would have to spend millions upgrading the line for higher speed trains and it has also been confirmed that there are no plans for such investment.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Passengers and our members need to know what exactly Deutsche Bahn Arriva North’s plans are for transport services for the local communities. Firstly, they failed to give RMT any indication on when they plan to introduce Driver Only Operation, despite massive opposition to their plans, which we believe are a serious threat to safety.
“Now it turns out that the latest ‘good news’ story, where thousands of passengers have been led to believe they will be travelling on new trains with shorter journey times, is not correct.
“It’s time for the new franchise holder to come clean and give clarity to its message and let the travelling public know exactly what their plans are.”
Arriva, owned by the German state rail operator Deutsche Bahn, took over the Northern franchise from Serco and Abellio this month. It has already signed a £490m contract for a fleet of 100mph trains to be built in Spain for delivery by October 2018.