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Rail Services in Bolton

Volume 579: debated on Monday 28 April 2014

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that the number of peak hour train carriages has decreased in recent years and further that the Petitioners believe the rail services provided are inadequate to meet the needs of local people.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to insist that the Rail companies involved take action to improve Bolton’s train service and increase the number of peak hour train carriages.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Yasmin Qureshi, Official Report, 5 March 2014; Vol. 576, c. 992.]

[P001326]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 15 April 2014:

The Department is very much aware of the concerns of the people of Bolton, and their elected representatives, regarding the provision of rolling stock and rail services to and for Bolton. Much has been said about Bolton and what might happen following the December timetable change. The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) met the Hon. Members from Bolton last week, and made it clear that he understands the difficulties faced by passengers on that route.

The Department is working with the rail companies to see what action can be taken to address the concerns that have been raised. The Prime Minister has asked the Department for Transport to investigate with the train operators, the costs and practicalities for improving service provision on the Bolton line.

As announced by the Prime Minister, the right hon. David Cameron MP (1 April 2014),

“A growing economy means more good jobs - but to make the most of them people need great transport too. If the trains are packed, it's vital we invest in better services. As part of our long-term economic plan to help Britain succeed, that's exactly what the government is doing across the North-West, with a big scheme that will soon see longer, quicker electric trains in place of today's crowded diesel units on several routes.

Bolton is one of the places that will benefit from this - which is why when I was in the town just before Christmas I was concerned to find out that while the work is happening, the current service is sometimes far too crowded, especially on trains that get hardworking people to work in the morning.

That's got to be sorted out and I've asked ministers to act. Of course when you get the builders in to improve things for the future there's bound to be some disruption. But I'm pleased to say that having listened to views in Bolton we're making sure that before the end of the year we will lengthen trains where it's possible - which means around 200 extra places on the Bolton line during the key morning peak.

We can do this because in December the first electric trains ever will start running on the line between Manchester and Liverpool, freeing up spare carriages for routes like Bolton. And of course that's just the start with work on course to make the Bolton line too fully electric by [December] 2016”

The Government remain determined to tackle overcrowding and provide better, more comfortable journeys for passengers. To this end, the Government have embarked on a large programme of rail capacity expansion. Work is under way to provide additional rolling stock on many routes around the country.