Pendle Peer calls for end to scandal of rail passengers being abandoned in Burnley

Lord Greaves has called for action on rail 'scandal'
Lord Greaves has called for action on rail 'scandal'
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A Colne-based Peer and local councillor has called on the Government to 'end the scandal' of vulnerable passengers to Pendle being abandoned when trains are turned back at Burnley.

Liberal Democrat Lord Tony Greaves, speaking in the House of Lords, said the Government needed to 'get to grips' with Arriva Northern Rail when highlighting failures on the Colne branch line.

He said: "I refer to trains to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne, which are at the end of the line on an eight-mile single-track siding. If trains are late, they often turn back at Burnley and turf out all the passengers without assistance, support or alternative transport to Brierfield, Nelson or Colne, where they have tickets to.

"It happens at all times of the day and night, leaving vulnerable people stranded at a dark unmanned station - children, young girls, old and disabled people, and visitors who do not know where they are. When will the Government get to grips with Arriva Northern rail and bring an end to scandals such as this?"

The Transport Minister in the House of Lords, Baroness Liz Sugg, replied that Northern was working hard to reduce the number of cancellations experienced on the lin.

She added: "They are currently running at about 4%, which is obviously not good enough. If the last train of the day is cancelled, Northern operates a last train of the day policy, which should ensure that passengers who are travelling to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne are not left stranded.

"If for any reason that service does not arrive, there is a 24-hour helpline, and service will then be provided. I have been assured that onward transport has been provided in all circumstances, but from what the noble Lord has said, that is not the case and, as I said, that is not good enough.

"I will be happy to arrange a meeting with the noble Lord and the Northern franchise where we can discuss further how better to make improvements.”

Lord Greaves said: “I have gathered a large body of evidence of passengers just not being given help of the kind the Government say should be provided – much of it gathered via local Facebook sites. I also dispute their figure of only 4% cancellations as far as the Pendle stations are concerned.

“I have provided the Minister with all this evidence and am collecting more. There is also the linked problem of trains not turning up to take people passengers from Colne, Nelson and Brierfield, resulting in students missing classes and employees being late for work. I will be delighted to take up Lady Sugg’s offer of a meeting with Arriva Northern Rail. This is a local scandal and has to be sorted out one way or another.”

Lord Greaves is asking anyone with yet more evidence of the failings on the Colne branch line to tell him about it ongreavesa@parliament.uk or on 01282 864346.