Missing out stations may ease train overcrowding
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-
The Government want to reduce overcrowding on longer journeys