England

Patrick McLoughlin pledges more seats on northern trains

Patrick McLoughlin Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Patrick McLoughlin was speaking during a visit to Carlisle Station

Train passengers in the north of England will have access to more seats, despite the loss of some stock to the south, the transport minister has said.

Patrick McLoughlin announced that under a leasing agreement nine TransPennine Express (TPE) trains would be transferred to the Chiltern franchise.

However, he said there would be additional trains or more carriages on some TPE and Northern routes.

The RMT union described the announcement as "spin over substance".

Currently, some services between Manchester, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire coast, Humberside and the North East are operated by two-carriage trains with 116 seats.

From 1 May, there will be a minimum of three carriages, or 181 seats.

'Economic growth'

There will also be more carriages on routes covering Carlisle, Maryport, Workington and Whitehaven, and an enhanced early-morning service from Carlisle to Sellafield.

In addition, the electrification of trains on the Manchester Victoria to Liverpool, and Liverpool to Preston routes will be rolled out faster than previously planned.

Speaking during a visit to Carlisle Station, Mr McLoughlin said: "Rail services across the north are vital for passengers and for the economy.

"By helping people access work and leisure more easily, we are securing long-term economic growth across the region."

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: "Once again this is more spin over substance from the government, but it shows clearly that they are having to respond to the ongoing RMT campaign.

"Ministers are terrified about the fact that in a few weeks many services in the north will lose modern trains which will be sent to the south, and this announcement is a thinly disguised attempt to deflect from that fact."

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