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MP for Denton and Reddish, Andrew Gwynne MP, writes about the closure

Posted on 19th August 2020

In a post on Facebook, Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, writes about developments he has made with the management of Northern Rail following the proposed closure of the Rose Hill line.

This afternoon I joined an online meeting with my MP colleagues, Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) and William Wragg (Hazel Grove) along with Cllr David Meller (Stockport MBC) with Northern. 

We expressed the strongest concerns and objections to the temporary closure of the Rose Hill Marple – Piccadilly line, and will continue to do so with the Rail Minister when Parliament resumes the week after next.

In terms of the meeting, Northern explained their staff shortage problems arising from COVID-19 to us. We pushed them on several issues relating to this, including the possibility of redeploying drivers from other lines. Northern’s position remains unchanged.

We have achieved some minor successes:

  • They have clarified that the situation is temporary and not part of an attempt to remove services. Northern has set 14th December for the restoration of services and will seek to bring them back earlier if the staffing situation improves.
  • The stations will be refurbished during the period they’re not in use so hopefully there’ll be a better passenger experience for users once the services are back.
  • Northern and Metrolink have come to an agreement that Fairfield users’ tickets will be accepted on the tram services through Droylsden.
  • At my request, Northern is in dialogue with Stagecoach Manchester to try and arrange for rail ticket acceptance on bus services from Haughton Green for Denton users of Hyde Central station.
  • Northern is confident that any patronage shift from Rose Hill onto the New Mills line, through Reddish North, can be accommodated safely on the current lower numbers using train services, and will monitor this and report back to me, to ensure Reddish North passengers wont be adversely affected.
  • Refunds for tickets already purchased will be provided at no charge for anybody not wishing to use the alternatives in place.

As I say, it’s far from ideal, but assurances have been given, and other arrangements put in place. 

I wanted to keep you updated on the meeting and please be assured that we will continue to work across party lines to press for a better outcome through the Department for Transport, and failing that, for services to be resumed earlier than 14 December.