After I'd received the reply to my e-mail from East Midlands Trains , I thought I'd reply –
Thank you for your reply.
I have to say that I'm not over confident that the Crewe Derby route is going to be treated as a priority. You talk about the fact that ‘We will link stations progressively over the next few years and this will enable passengers to speak directly to an information controller….' Being cynical and based on the fact of the lack of investment and interest in the route by previous companies, I feel that the Crewe Derby route stations will be amongst the last to receive these improvements!
Of the 70 ticket machines you talk about, will Longport be included?
I also hear on the grapevine, and please correct me if I have misheard, that you are to run the single coach Class 153 units on the route, thereby reducing the seating capacity and moving the two car units to other areas.
My final worry is that you are expecting local authorities to pay for the upgrading of your stations! Why should they pay to improve your facilities when it is in your interests to improve services etc. to increase passenger numbers?
I'm sorry if this all seems a little negative, but local train services in North Staffordshire have been eroded away over the last 15 years or so and your predecessors seemed to treat this area as an inconvenience!
And the reply –
Thanks again for your email.
We will not be installing ticket machines into the Longport station.
We are proposing to run single coach Class 153 units on the Crewe-Derby route from December 2008, however, this has not been finalised. We are currently consulting with stakeholders on our proposed December 2008 and their feedback may have some bearing on this decision.
We do have funds to undertake station improvements however, we are also looking to local authorities to assist. We will be looking to invest in stations where we can make a valid business case for it.
East Midlands Trains
That reply doesn't exactly instil confidence does it? The trouble is that it's an East Midlands franchise serving the West Midlands / North West. Time will tell I guess, but I'm not holding my breath for improvements.