I challenged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today on the failure of the recent rail timetable changes to reverse the poorer train services to Sheffield that travellers have been facing since May 2018. I first raised the issue with Ministers last year, highlighting the way that direct London to Sheffield train services had been sacrificed in order to improve local services for London and the South-East.
The May 2019 timetable change made minor changes, but no overall improvement. There are still two fewer early-evening services and longer average journey times than fourteen months ago. Last year the Rail Minister acknowledged that the changes had been made to accommodate “the £7billion Thameslink programme”, but today Grayling dodged the issue as you can see below.
This week, northern newspapers launched their ‘Power up the North’ campaign, which is a response to these sort of Government decisions. We need more priority for transport in the North, not a rolling back of services. It is not acceptable that Sheffield and the rest of Yorkshire receive five times less transport funding than London, and I will continue to campaign for fair allocation of resources.
I’ve also recently raised the need for proper investment in rail infrastructure between Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and other great northern cities, and supported Transport for the North’s £120bn strategic plan.