Minister quizzed on ‘sardine’ trains

Date published: 15 May 2014

COMMUTERS from Saddleworth’s only railway station are being treated like “sardines in a can”, MP Debbie Abrahams claimed when she questioned Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin in the Commons.

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP pressed the minister on whether some of Northern Rail’s diesel stock could be transferred to TransPennine Express to supplement a gap left by an earlier stock transfer from TPE to the Chilterns Railway.

Mr McLoughlin said: “A huge amount of new rolling stock is coming online in the next few years and I hope we will be able to relieve some of the initial problems the honourable lady has mentioned.”

Following the exchange the MP said: “Telling commuters squashed together like sardines that new rolling stock is coming in the next few years is little consolation.

“The Government has just extended the Northern Rail franchise until 2016. It is disappointing it didn’t use that opportunity more effectively and improve the quality and capacity of rolling stock for my constituents.”