Train timetable changes are hitting regular commuters

Date: Monday 26th February 2018

Sir, Further to the story of last week about changes to trains from Penrith, commuters on the Settle-Carlisle line are facing similar illogical and ill thought-out changes to train times.

Regular local commuters on Northern Rail services from Kirkby Stephen to Carlisle are facing changes to services by Northern when the timetables change on 19th May.

For many years users have had a choice of trains home from Carlisle at 16.14 and 18.14 and have planned their working week around these times. At present there are six trains a day each way. The change in May will see seven going north and five going south.

The new train times, as listed on at least two train ticket websites (but not on Northern’s) will mean the disappearance of the 16.14 service. This would mean a full-time worker being in Carlisle for 60 hours a week.

There will be a train at 14.50 but none until 18.24, a gap of 3.5 hours. Not only are they proposing the loss of the 16.14, they are moving the first train in the morning 15 minutes earlier and moving the 18.14 to 18.24.

This will put more people off even thinking of using the service to commute to work. We have long been asking for a train around 17.30, as a sensible time like this would attract many more to use it regularly. This proposed change will mean even more people turning to their cars.

It will also have a massive impact on the many students who travel to Carlisle for college and without the train could not access vital further and higher education.

Network Rail spent £23 million on repairing the line after it was shut in the aftermath of Storm Desmond. These proposals could see less people using the line, not more. So what is the point of spending this money?

All that this confirms to me is that Northern are not concerned with the local commuters on this line, many of whom have been loyal users even during the recent year-long closure.

When asked, Northern will not confirm these new times although they did say they may be subject to change. Anyone who will be disadvantaged by these changes please do send your comments to Northern Rail as soon as possible. Yours etc,


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