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Stockport Labour Work Cross-Party to Save Rose Hill Services

Posted on 10th September 2020

Labour-led Stockport Council works with government, local MPs and Northern Trains to find last minute solution reinstating two additional services and promising 90-minute service from late October.

After weeks of joint lobbying from Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, and local MPs William Wragg and Andrew Gwynne, Northern Trains will keep two return services running to Rose Hill with an additional 90-minute service promised on the 26th October.

The line was due to close temporarily from the 14th September until December after COVID disrupted Northern Rails driver training programme.

The move will see:

  • An 08.05 from Manchester Piccadilly to Rose Hill calling at Gorton, Guide Bridge, Hyde North, Hyde Central, Woodley and Romiley;
  • That train will then depart Rose Hill at 08.52, taking the route of the 08.54 Marple to Piccadilly service without serving Marple station;
  • The 1419 from Piccadilly to New Mills Central would be diverted to Rose Hill, no longer calling at Marple, Strines and New Mills;
  • This would then form a 1514 Rose Hill to Piccadilly service (the 1534 New Mills Central to Piccadilly would be cancelled);
  • Then, from 26th October, a new 90-minute service would be introduced from Rose Hill to Piccadilly (via the Hyde loop).

While Cllr Meller is still pushing for a full restoration of the service, this schedule provides a long-term solution and comes at no financial cost to the council.

Stockport Labour had put forward a motion to next weeks’ full council meeting, but events developed after William Wragg MP for Hazel Grove secured an adjournment debate.

Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said:

“This is a brilliant result and I’m very grateful to Northern for listening to my concerns and those of Stockport-based MPs William Wragg and Andrew Gwynne, who have both been fantastic in pushing for Northern to reconsider their position. 

“Local MPs Afzal Khan and particularly Jonathan Reynolds, whose Stalybridge and Hyde constituency was especially affected, have also been excellent in supporting our efforts. 

“Transport for Greater Manchester and the GM Transport Committee were also essential in helping us reach a solution. 

“This outcome is the result of MPs and the council’s leadership working together beyond party lines to do what’s best for Stockport and Greater Manchester. I’m really pleased that a way forward has been found.”

On the Liberal Democrat proposal to use council funding to fund a week-long service, Cllr Meller said:

“In light of the announcement made, I feel I can now address the Liberal Democrats’ proposal to use council funding to fund a train service from Rose Hill for a single week. 

“This proposal was dropped on council officers and colleagues at Transport for Greater Manchester without any warning. 

“They have been forced, during the height of this pandemic we’re still fighting, to frantically work out whether their idea was even possible. 

“The Lib Dems’ complete disregard for detail and officer time is only matched by their utterly reckless use of council resources. 

“Using £30,000 to fund a train service for a single week would have taken money away from, for example, Marple’s local parks, local community groups and charities and any local initiatives to make roads safer. 

“That is money that could be used to have a lasting impact for residents: to help ‘Build Back Better’ in Marple and also Bredbury and Romiley. 

“But instead, the Liberal Democrats wanted to use taxpayers’ money for a week-long vanity project-cum-gimmick that offered no value for money, failed to address the issue at hand and, in light of today’s announcements, I expect will not go ahead. 

“Common sense has prevailed and we have delivered a positive outcome for residents. I look forward to working with Northern and local MPs as we move towards restoring a full service as soon as possible, while considering Northern’s position of having fewer drivers available at this time.”