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Conservative Rail Minister supports plans to suspend services on the Rose Hill line

Posted on 28th August 2020

The Rail Minister, Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris, has written to Transport for Greater Manchester committee supporting the decision to suspend train services on the Rose Hill Line.

The following was sent by the Rail Minister, Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris, to Transport for Greater Manchester on 25th August 2020.

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your letter of 19 August about the suspension of Northern services on the Rose Hill Marple Line. 

I am grateful to you for taking the time to raise this issue on behalf of Greater Manchester Transport Committee and I appreciate the importance of regular and reliable train frequency to passengers travelling from Rose Hill, Woodley, Hyde Central, Hyde North, and Fairfield stations. 

My officials have been in contact with Northern Trains Ltd (NTL), which explains that it made the difficult decision to suspend this service because there is a lack of drivers available with knowledge of the route, due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, NTL was rolling out a major driver training programme, but delays caused by the pandemic combined with staff self-shielding at home, means that NTL had to take steps to prioritise its resource where it is most needed. 

NTL assures us that it is working with Transport for Greater Manchester to put arrangements in place to ease any attendant issues for passengers and we would like to assure you that the Department is monitoring this situation closely, and will continue to hold NTL to account so that a service is restored for passengers travelling on the route between Manchester Piccadilly and Rose Hill Marple as quickly as possible. 

Please be assured that the Department is working closely with NTL to ensure passengers across the Greater Manchester region receive the service they deserve, as the restrictions imposed on the railway during lockdown are eased. 

Thank you again for your letter and for raising your and your fellow committee members’ concerns. I hope this reply is helpful. 

Yours sincerely,

Chris Heaton-Harris MP

Minister of State for Transport