Northern Rail signals rethink over plan to axe Beverley service
Cllr Denis Healy (centre) at Beverley Railway Station with campaigners David Boynton and Neil Bant
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 13 Jul 2017
A petition protest by angry rail passengers has helped force a re-think over plans to axe Beverley’s direct trains to Doncaster.
Northern Rail has signalled there could be a u-turn after the public outcry over moves to axe the direct link with mainline London trains.
More than 400 people signed an online petition after learning the service – via Bridlington, Beverley and Cottingham to Doncaster and Sheffield – faced the axe next year.
If the move was to go ahead, passengers would face delays of at least 25 minutes to change trains in Hull.
Northern Rail’s regional stakeholder manager Alison Bell has now signalled the direct trains may be kept, subject to agreement from Network Rail and others.
She has told East Riding councillors: “We have taken on board concerns around not having a through service to Sheffield.
“The planners say they have been able to reinstate it, subject to the industrial processes. It’s subject to wider level agreement, it’s subject to Network Rail.”
Councillor Denis Healy, who launched the online petition after finding out about the plans “by chance”, criticised Northern Rail’s lack of public consultation over the move.
He told Ms Bell: “You said you had consulted stakeholders but it was not extended to the public. Elected members found out about this by default.
“Residents in Beverley were very concerned about the proposal to stop the direct service from Bridlington, Beverley and Cottingham to Doncaster.”
Passengers want to keep Beverley's direct service to Doncaster and Sheffield
Ms Bell said: “We are contracted to consult with stakeholders. That doesn’t mean the general public.
“We consult with local authorities and passenger transport executives, we went to rail user groups and partnerships and expect them to represent the views.
“I would expect East Riding Council to represent the views of the public.”
The council’s environment and regeneration sub-committee agreed to formally recommend Northern Rail does not scrap the direct trains to Doncaster and Sheffield.
After the meeting Cllr Healy said he was hopeful progress was being made.
He said: “It really does show that if people make their voices heard, they can’t be ignored.
“I am sure this petition is playing an important part in causing Northern Rail to have second thoughts but we can’t be certain we have saved our direct train services until they have finally confirmed that they have changed their minds.
“I’m also pleased the environment and regeneration sub committee acted on my proposal to formally recommend to Northern Rail not to scrap our direct trains, which local people rely on so much.
“It would be a huge setback for the connectivity of Beverley if that were to happen.
“With a combination of the people’s petition and the recommendation of the scrutiny committee, I am hopeful we will progress towards the outcome that we are all hoping for.”
The committee heard station improvements are planned at a number of East Riding stations.
Stations on track for upgrades include Beverley and Bridlington, which are set for new seating and ticket vending machines.
Other stations lined up for refurbishment include Driffield, Cottingham, Bempton and Hutton Cranswick.