Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are We about to Hit the Buffers?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are We about to Hit the Buffers?

Article excerpt

Within months of the start of the Northern Rail franchise, the Strategic Rail Authority and the Government are hiring consultants to carry out a review of Northern Services, including those between, Middlesbrough, Saltburn, Sunderland, Whitby, Bishop Auckland, Newcastle, Hexham and Carlisle.

The consultants have been asked to look at one scenario, for comparative purposes, where no trains would run on the entire Northern Rail network. Other options are large-scale service cuts, bus substitution of train services and huge fare increases.

In a separate development, the Government is proposing so-called "Community Rail Partnerships" to take over the running of some lines. On these lines there will be a "freedom" from the constraints of many of the operational standards currently in force. Many of us believe this will lead to a reduction in standards in safety and an even more fragmented, disintegrated and disjointed rail network.

It has even been suggested by some that rail workers should be replaced by volunteer rail enthusiasts and train spotters in an attempt to cut costs - hardly the way to run a reliable, modern, 21st Century integrated railway. …

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