Miss­ing out sta­tions may ease train over­crowd­ing

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

TRAINS run­ning from Birm­ing­ham might no longer stop at smaller sta­tions, as part of an at­tempt to re­duce over­crowd­ing.

The Depart­ment for Trans­port has sug­gested cut­ting the num­ber of stops on Cross Coun­try pas­sen­ger ser­vices.

It says the aim is to re­duce over­crowd­ing on long-dis­tance jour­neys by de­lib­er­ately cut­ting the num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing the train for shorter trips.

Trains would stop at large conur­ba­tions but miss out smaller sta­tions near by, ei­ther per­ma­nently or at peak times. Des­ti­na­tions on the fran­chise in­clude Birm­ing­ham New Street, Coventry, Wolver­hamp­ton and Le­ices­ter.

But trains also stop at smaller sta­tions such as Stafford, Tam­worth, Wa­ter Or­ton, Nuneaton, Coleshill Park­way and Bur­ton-on-Trent.

A sim­i­lar mea­sure was brought in on bus ser­vices in South Birm­ing­ham last Oc­to­ber, ax­ing a num­ber of bus stops to im­prove jour­ney times.

The pro­posal is one of a num­ber of ideas in a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion about the fu­ture of the Cross Coun­try Pas­sen­ger Rail Fran­chise.

It in­cludes long-dis­tance ser­vices stretch­ing from Aberdeen to Cam­bridge in the south-east and Pen­zance in the south-west.

Every train goes through Birm­ing­ham’s New Street sta­tion.

The Depart­ment for Trans­port doc­u­ment, pub­lished by Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling, sug­gests cut­ting over­crowd­ing by “re­duc­ing the num­ber of short dis­tance pas­sen­gers, where there are suit­able al­ter­na­tives”.

It asks pas­sen­gers whether they would sup­port “re­mov­ing calls from towns clos­est to the conur­ba­tion cen­tre ei­ther com­pletely or just at peak times.”

How­ever, it warns: “Al­though this might speed up jour­neys, the prob­lem is that many of the towns also have pas­sen­gers want­ing to use the Cross Coun­try net­work for longer dis­tance jour­neys who would then be in­con­ve­nienced.”

An­other op­tion is to call at smaller sta­tions but to avoid in­clud­ing the stops in timeta­bles, so gers do not get on.

“This would mean con­tin­u­ing to call at such sta­tions, but al­low­ing the op­er­a­tor to re­strict calls to ‘set down’ or ‘pick up’ only,” the doc­u­ment ex­plains.

“In that way, a train head­ing away from a ma­jor city in the af­ter­noon would not be ad­ver­tised as call­ing at the next town, but would do so only to set down pas­sen­gers.”

A third op­tion would mean tick­ets which al­low peo­ple to travel by any avail­able route would not be valid on Cross Coun­try trains.

Mr Grayling said: “While pas­sen­ger num­bers have in­creased, the size of the train fleet has stayed largely the same so some of the busiest routes in the net­work suf­fer from crowd­ing.”

The con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment, and de­tails of how to re­spond, are at www.gov.uk/gov­ern­ment/con­sul­ta­tions/cross-coun­try-rail-fran­chise that passen-

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The Gov­ern­ment want to re­duce over­crowd­ing on longer jour­neys

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