Saddleworth and Oldham East MP meets expert appointed to tackle rail chaos

DEBBIE Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has joined other MPs to meet with experts appointed to work on railway industry performance for the north.

(L-R) Jonathan Reynolds MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Debbie Abrahams MP, Richard George (centre, front), Thelma Walker MP and Paula Sherriff MP

Richard George has been appointed by the Government to assist with improvements to services in the region covered by Transport for the North.

Mr George is an independent railway expert and not employed by, nor aligned to, any of the train operating companies or their owning groups, nor to Network Rail, nor to the DfT or TfN.

Mrs Abrahams said: “Our meeting was positive and I raised the issue of appalling management failings and coordination which led to the timetabling problems over the last few months and caused huge disruption.

“The problems have been persisting, with constituents continually raising issues of delays to and from Greenfield station.

“We discussed the causes of the chaos and plans for the future upgrade of the TransPennine route.

“Mr George acknowledged there had been an unacceptable level of performance and a break down in process and trust following the timetable changes in May 2018.

“He also recognises that by May 2019 the railway companies need to be in a position to implement improvements and have a seamless timetable change with new rolling stock and train crews.

“He also acknowledged it is important for the Government to be able to say when all the new service promises of the last few years will be met and, crucially, which won’t.

“While Mr George seemed to understand our concerns as MPs representing passengers across the north of England, it remains to be seen if the rail companies, and the Government, are capable of putting his counsel into effective action and put an end to the misery they’ve caused commuters for many, many months now.”

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