2 September 2014
RMT Press Office
‘DEVASTATING’ PLANS to scrap peak-hour rail services across Merseyside are exposed today by RMT, the region’s biggest rail union.
Secret proposals to slash as many as nine rush-hour Merseyrail trains a day fly in the face of Merseytravel’s long-term rail plan, launched only days ago with a huge media fanfare, the union says.
Cuts pencilled in to the new timetable from May 2015 would see six Wirral line trains and three Southport services axed each day at times when demand is highest, and anticipated by Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region to continue to grow.
The revelation comes on the heels of the axing of cheap off-peak fares in Greater Manchester and other parts of the North – due to be introduced on Monday - landing two massive blows on the north-west’s economic recovery in as many days.
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “These plans make a complete nonsense of Merseytravel’s pledge to help boost long-term economic growth on Merseyside by increasing rail capacity and services.
“Merseytravel is supposed to be a beacon of common sense in contrast to the government’s plans to slash rail services across the north of England, and when its own figures show an urgent need for more capacity, not less, it must put a stop to this nonsense immediately.
“RMT will fight these cuts tooth and nail, and we urge Merseyside rail users to join us in defending their services.
RMT North West regional organiser John Tilley said: “Our priority as a union is to protect jobs and services and today I am asking Merseytravel chair Liam Robinson to confirm publicly that these plans will be stopped in their tracks.
“I will also be meeting service operator Merseyrail tomorrow (Wednesday) and will be making it quite clear that peak-service cuts are as unacceptable to our members as they will be to the travelling public.
“This move is simply perverse – not least when we are hearing reports of trains being left in sidings during peak hours in order to limit the mileage being clocked up by the ancient rolling stock.”