Former MP stresses the crucial role of rail services

A CrossCountry train south of Berwick.
A CrossCountry train south of Berwick.

Former Berwick MP Lord Alan Beith has raised concerns over potential cuts to rail services in Northumberland.

The concerns stem from an ongoing Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on the future of the CrossCountry franchise.

One option being considered is to cut the number of local stops the service makes in order to reduce overcrowding.

Lord Beith, speaking in the House of Lords, said that CrossCountry trains were vital for passengers in Northumberland and any reduction in service would impact the almost half-a-million passenger journeys a year at Berwick, Alnmouth and Morpeth.

He asked: “The Secretary of State states that his priority is to reduce crowding. Will he do that with longer trains, or by telling people in Northumberland to get into their cars while the trains whizz through the stations without stopping?”

Responding on behalf of the Government, Baroness Sugg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the DfT, said: “The point of the consultation is for passengers to tell us what they want from that service. I know how much the services are valued, and of course passenger views will be reflected before setting the minimum requirements for the new operator.”

Lord Beith has called on residents to make their voices heard and stress how important the services are, by contributing to the consultation, open until August 30.

He said: “There is a real risk that our local stations will lose some of their trains.”

To view the consultation visit tinyurl.com/ycyn9xmg