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We exist solely to help people who use Bolton’s rail services. Our members get:
We push constantly for a solution to the problems - the overcrowded trains, not enough of them, and not enough carriages.
We maintain close links with the train companies, especially Northern.
We keep Bolton’s needs at the forefront of their minds.
We monitor their progress towards the transformed railway which they have promised and their franchise agreement with the Department for Transport and Rail North requires them to deliver.
LIKE ALL BOLTON RAIL USERS WE WERE STAGGERED AT THE MASSIVE TIMETABLE CRASH AND NEAR COLLAPSE OF OUR SERVICES IN MAY 2018.
AN INQUIRY CARRIED OUT BY THE ORR ("OFFICE OF RAIL AND ROAD") CONCLUDED THAT ALL BODIES INVOLVED WERE TO BLAME TO SOME EXTENT, right up to the Department for Transport.
Things are better, but still not back to normal. Northern are still cancelling some services or missing stops. This is not good enough and needs to be sorted as soon as ever possible.
For well over a decade the Government, through its control of the franchise, prevented the previous operators of the Northern services from obtaining any new trains. They argued that rail travel in the north was declining. In fact it more than doubled over the period.
But the refusal to allow new trains still continued. No doubt this was convenient to the Government by keeping the amount of subsidy down. However it was the direct cause of today’s problems.
In 2015 the Government saw the light, after a lot of pressure. Both of the new North of England rail franchises, Northern and TransPennine Express, are now based on growth and require the companies to make massive investment in trains and service improvements. TransPennine Express's Glasgow and Edinburgh services will also be serving Bolton again from the May 2019 timetable change, enabled by the completion of the electrification, which is about to go live (December 2019), after a delay of several years.
Despite the May 2019 timetable crash, all the companies still have to deliver and we want to make sure that happens.
We still stand on the threshold of what is supposed to be a new area.
The operating companies (Northern and First TransPennine Express)
*** put into service hundreds of new and refurbished trains
Northern's new trains are on schedule. The first have arrived and are undergoing tests etc. Extra diesel trains are being cascaded from other areas following electrification. A significant number of Northern's existing trains have been refurbished.
*** dispose of the much disliked, half bus, half freight truck "Pacer" trains
This will start during 2019 and should be complete by the end of that year.
*** lengthen some trains
This has been happening, but suffered a setback in the May 2018 timetable crash. It will continue.
*** introduce new and extended services.
This too has been delayed by the timetable crash and unfortunately there are no plans to give Bolton extra services.
At the same time, much needed infrastructure work has been undertaken by Network Rail, including:
Both complete (December 2019)
But we'll only see the improvement we need if Northern allocate enough of the additional trains, services and carriages to the Bolton lines. We will continue to advocate that and closely follow Northern's progress.
Despite the timetable fiasco, the signs are good. The company know about Bolton, it’s a very important line for them and they want to do what they can. Resources will of course not be unlimited, other lines too have overcrowding and no commitments are possible at this stage.
We nevertheless remain optimistic. We keep in contact with Northern, watch developments and continue to make the case.
We are a "not for profit" community body. We operate on a minimum cost basis.
Membership is free. We charge no subscription. Our policy is to operate on voluntary donations only.
We don’t make demands on your time either. You don’t have to come to meetings or do any work for us if you don’t wish to.
The Group is led by people with good understanding of rail services, the structure of the rail industry and how it works. We understand the causes of the current massive overcrowding. We know what needs to be done to eliminate it, including what’s feasible and what isn’t. So we are well equipped to press convincingly for what Bolton’s rail users need.
If you are a user (whether often or only occasionally) of any rail service that starts, terminates or calls at any station within the Bolton Metropolitan Borough, you are eligible to join us. If you like what we are doing, may we ask that you become a member and add your voice?
The more members we have, the more influence we have.
To join, just fill in the form below, then click "SEND". There is nothing to pay.
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