Rail timetable changes signal job concerns for Saddleworth commuters

Saddleworth commuters fear drastic changes to the rail timetable next year could have a “massive impact on lives and jobs”.

Greenfield Train Station

From May 2018, all peak time journeys from Greenfield Station will run to Manchester Piccadilly.

Workers currently using one of five direct trains to Manchester Victoria will have to change at Stalybridge with an eight-minute wait on only three usable connections.

Passengers working in the city centre could be forced to catch the 0745 service to avoid being late for a 9am start at work.

The next train isn’t scheduled to depart until 0829 and terminates at Piccadilly.

Commuters travelling to Salford Central face a 70-minute journey time via Stalybridge instead of three direct services operating between 34 and 40-minute journey time.

The controversial changes are being introduced to allow for six express trains an hour on the TransPennine route.

Because services will start from Leeds and Piccadilly, passengers from and to Greenfield fear overcrowded carriages with fewer empty seats.

In addition, there is no immediate provision to extend platforms to accommodate mostly six-carriage, double-unit train, or to introduce help for disabled rail users on the Huddersfield bound platforms at Mossley or Greenfield.

Around 200 people packed a recent meeting at Uppermill Civic Hall to hear confirmation of the news from Greenfield Rail Action Group (GRAG).

Another meeting is set for Tuesday, December 12 at the same venue at 7.30pm.

Now residents and rail passengers are urged to bombard politicians, including new Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and rail chiefs and companies to think again.

Greenfield Station is used by more than 300,000 passengers annually but is one of the most poorly frequented for trains in the North for the amount of people it serves.

Greenfield Train Station

“The service will be nothing like we have got now,” said Dr Richard Knowles, a Professor of Transport Geography and member of GRAG.

“We do have to kick up a fuss because this is not good enough.

“Of the third of a million, passengers two thirds are peak train users.

“The vast majority of people have destinations nearer to Manchester Victoria and Salford Central rather than Manchester Piccadilly.

“What is needed is a great outpouring of anger at what is being done to your journeys and your daily lives to stop this horror show.”

The meeting, chaired by GRAG chair Mark Ashmore, heard from a number of concerned rail users.

One said: “I get the train every day and I don’t think my fellow commuters are aware this is to happen in May.

“I just don’t think us daily commuters appreciate the impact these changes will have. By May 2019 we could have lost our jobs.”


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