I would be interested to hear what your company is proposing to do to improve the Crewe to Derby service and the stations along this line.
As the majority of this service is in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area, I am somewhat surprised that it is being run by a company whose main area of focus is the East Midlands. In the past, Central Trains and to a degree Regional Railways treated this service and its stations as an inconvenience and little or no investment has been made in the route. A lot of people in the North Staffordshire area aren't even aware that there are open stations at Longport or Longton!
In fact, one of the stations, Etruria, was closed two years ago. It is also noticable that the majority of stations currently operated by Central Trains (the exception being Kidsgrove) are unstaffed. Most of the stations are in a poor state of repair, although some new shelter facilities have been installed at Longport, but this was not financed by Central Trains! The stations do not provide a welcome to the travelling public – your potential customers!
Can you reassure me that the level of service you will provide, the state of the stations, the staffing of the stations and the publicity of the route will be improved when you take over the service?
And this is the reply –
The level of service will be broadly similar to that operating today, but from December 2008 there will be some changes to train times in conjunction with major timetable changes across the country. We have been told exactly when our trains can operate throughout the day by Network Rail.
East Midlands Trains (EMT) intends to deliver improved ambiance at all stations by investing in deep cleaning, painting, improved CCTV Help Points and signage. The CCTV and Help Points will be connected to a new Information and Security Centre collocated with the new integrated control at Derby. We will link stations progressively over the next few years and this will enable passengers to speak directly to an information controller to obtain accurate and up to date information.
Further enhancements may be possible if local stakeholders are able to provide additional funding and a number of local authorities have already stated that they wish to join with EMT to improve stations.
We will also be installing over 70 ticket vending machines across our network. Staffing levels will remain as now but our management arrangements will be developed to ensure that stations are kept clean and provide a welcoming environment for passengers.
Hmm, can't say I'm too reassured to be honest. I've got a copy of the new proposed 2008 timetable 😉 so I'd better take a closer look to see what's planned!