Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN WALKER & ELIS SAND­FORD News Re­porters

NUNEATON Rail­way Sta­tion could see fewer trains stop­ping, as part of a gov­ern­ment plan to re­duce the amount of over­crowd­ing on Cross­Coun­try trains.

It comes as the Depart­ment for Trans­port has sug­gested that the trains should avoid stop­ping at smaller sta­tions, cut­ting the over­all num­ber of stops.

The pur­pose of this would be to re­duce over­crowd­ing for pas­sen­gers em­bark­ing on long-dis­tance jour­neys, as it cuts out pas­sen­gers look­ing to make shorter jour­neys.

Trains would stop at larger sta­tions, but miss out on smaller sta­tions nearby, ei­ther per­ma­nently or at peak times.

And it could be bad news for sta­tions such as Nuneaton , Tam­worth and Coleshill Park­way.

Cross­Coun­try ser­vices call at these sta­tions, but with larger sta­tions such as Birm­ing­ham New Street, Wolver­hamp­ton and Le­ices­ter nearby, they could face the axe.

The pro­posal is one of a num­ber of ideas in a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion about the fu­ture of the Cross Coun­try Pas­sen­ger Rail Fran­chise, which 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 that pas­sen­gers don’t get on. The doc­u­ment sug­gests: “Con­tin­u­ing to call at such sta­tions, but al­low­ing the op­er­a­tor to re­strict calls to ‘set down’ or ‘pick up’ only.

“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 sug­gested op­tion in­volves “re­mov­ing the va­lid­ity of lo­cal mul­ti­modal tick­ets on Cross Coun­try trains (ei­ther gen­er­ally or just at peak times in the peak di­rec­tion).”

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

The doc­u­ment also con­tains sug­ges­tions that are likely to be pop­u­lar with com­muters, in­clud­ing in­tro­duc­ing longer trains.

A con­sul­ta­tion is tak­ing place be­cause the Cross Coun­try fran­chise, cur­rently held by Ar­riva, is com­ing up for re­newal in 2019.

Feed­back from pas­sen­gers will help the Gov­ern­ment draw up the cri­te­ria firms bid­ding for the fran­chise are ex­pected to meet.

In a writ­ten in­tro­duc­tion to the doc­u­ment, 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.

“Re­solv­ing crowd­ing is my pri­mary ob­jec­tive for the next fran­chise, and I want to see a growing and suc­cess­ful fran­chise that de­liv­ers this.”

The ser­vice, which also runs to Manch­ester, Leeds and New­cas­tle, car­ries 40 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year.

...re­duc­ing the num­ber of short dis­tance pas­sen­gers, where there are suit­able al­ter­na­tives... Doc­u­ment

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