Ann Coffey



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29th March 2018

Ann Coffey MP has urged the Government to step in and investigate cuts to train services at Heaton Chapel station, which could lead to dangerous overcrowding on platforms.

The MP for Stockport has written to Jo Johnson, the rail minister, expressing concern about this “totally unacceptable situation.”

Ms Coffey detailed the cuts in the numbers of trains and chaotic timetabling resulting in big gaps at peak periods and the fear of crowd control problems.

Northern rail bosses are devising plans to deal with potential crowds at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme stations when services at both stations are temporarily cut from four to three trains an hour from May 20 due to delays in the electrification of the Manchester to Preston line.

Heaton Chapel, in Ms Coffey’s constituency, is one of the busiest stations within Greater Manchester with over 800,000 passengers per year.

Ms Coffey said there were major concerns about the chaotic timings of services, including all three trains during the morning rush hour arriving at the station within a 15 minute window and then a large 49 minute gap between the 8.35 and 9.24 peak morning services.

Ms Coffey said: “These changes are unacceptable and will lead to massive overcrowding and more commuter hell for people trying to get to work on time.”

In her letter to Mr Johnson she said: “I would ask you to look into this as a matter of urgency.

“I hope you will agree that this is a totally unacceptable situation for my constituents and I look forward to receiving an update on what positive action can be taken to address these concerns.”

“My constituents have already been waiting a significant amount of time for promised improvements and had looked forward to the new services and increased capacity that they expected to be implemented”

She said it was ‘extremely frustrating’ that Network Rail did not notify Northern until January this year that the electrification project was again running over time and would not now be completed by May.

“I would be grateful if you could advise me what action the Government can take to ensure that further delays in this project are kept to a minimum and that communication will be improved to ensure that train operators are able to plan effectively.”

A copy of Ann’s letter is available here for those interested.