As Mayor of Morpeth in December 2015, I was delighted to invite Dennis Fancett, Chair of the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) and John McQuarrie from the Department for Transport to the Mayor’s parlour for a meeting.
SENRUG do excellent work in campaigning for improvements to rail services to Morpeth and I felt it was important to show that they had the support of the town behind them.
Dennis was lobbying the DfT to improve the CrossCountry train service at Morpeth when the new DfT direct award started, and demonstrated that in some instances, extra fare revenue could be obtained without any impact on overall journey times.
I was very impressed by Dennis’s expert knowledge of the timetable and his suggestions of how extra stops in Morpeth could be inserted with minimal time delays or expense to the rail provider.
John McQuarrie said Dennis’s presentation was one of best he’d seen and promised to discuss SENRUG’s suggestions with CrossCountry.
I was very pleased to hear that as a result of this meeting, the number of calls at Morpeth station will be increased, boosting connectivity to Edinburgh, Yorkshire, the Midlands and other CrossCountry destinations.
Currently three weekday services run per day in each direction between Edinburgh and Newcastle, calling at Morpeth.
This will increase to five weekday services per day in each direction from December 2017. A similar increase will occur at weekends to give Morpeth five CrossCountry service calls per day (4 southbound on Sundays) in each direction, seven days a week.
Morpeth is the transport centre for many businesses based in South-East Northumberland and SENRUG has sought to secure direct access to commercial centres such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Birmingham.
Dennis Fancett, Chair of SENRUG, said: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport has listened to the business case we put forward for additional CrossCountry stops at Morpeth. It makes belonging to a voluntary campaign group such as ours worthwhile. These additional trains form a significant part of the extra services coming on stream at Morpeth and we are very much looking forward to welcoming their introduction in 2017.”
I congratulate Dennis and SENRUG on their successful campaign and am glad to have played even a small part in their success.
I urge Morpeth’s rail users to join SENRUG which will give them greater strength in their campaigns for further service improvements. Membership is only £5 per annum. For more details go to their website at http://www.senrug.co.uk/Join-Us.php
Photo courtesy of Trevor Walker