Fresh calls for better rail services to and from Scarborough after six trains cancelled in one day

A call to strip TransPennine Express of its franchise has been backed by a Yorkshire business leader.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 4:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 4:56 pm

The rail company responsible for running services between Scarborough and Liverpool via York has come under fire in recent weeks following the continuing delays and cancellations experienced by passengers.

Earlier this month, Filey hotelier James Hodgson called on the business community to come together to demand a better deal and this week, in the wake of yet more disruption, head of commercial development for Yorkshire in Business, Marcus Thrall, has echoed his call. “If it had been a national operator running services from York to London for example, its franchise would have already been revoked but because people think ‘it’s only Scarborough’ nobody does anything about it,” he said.

“On Saturday I was travelling up from London and it was the fourth time in two months that the train from York to Scarborough was cancelled. I spoke to shoppers who were coming to Scarborough and people who were coming to Scarborough for the weekend and they were all frustrated and fed up. Next time, they said, they were probably going to go somewhere else.”

Calls to end TransPennine Express' franchise have been backed by a Yorkshire business leader.

On that day, according to figures from Raildar, six services from Scarborough to Liverpool were cancelled, with four more pulled halfway through the journey. This was due to a shortage of train drivers.

For Mr Thrall, who is also a member of the new Town Centre Strategy Team, this shows a lack of “forward planning” that is ultimately going to “impact our economy” and leave us “even more isolated”.

In a letter sent to Filey Conservative candidate Kevin Hollinrake, the Department for Transport admitted TransPennine Express’ recent performance “has not been satisfactory”. It added that “extreme weather” is partly to blame and that the roll-out of its new fleet “has stretched driver resources to unforeseen levels”.

Although the company’s new five-carriage trains are testament to their investment plans, Mr Thrall thinks the main issue is not being addressed.

“What we want is a guarantee that these continuous cancellations are going to stop because I don’t think they’re actually aware of the dependency we have on this train service.”

A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “Unfortunately, we have had to cancel some services on Saturday and we are really sorry for the inconvenience that this will no doubt have caused.

“This was due to unit availability along with an accelerated training programme that we are temporarily running for our drivers and conductors as we prepare to roll out our new fleets of trains over the coming weeks.”