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Rowen demands action over lost carriages

October 9, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul RowenRochdale MP Paul Rowen is calling on Northern Rail to put a halt to plans which will see the current rolling-stock from the Oldham Loop Line moved to other parts of the country.

The Line closes this weekend as work beings to convert the track for Metrolink use and Mr Rowen has been calling for the rolling stock to instead be retained for use along the Manchester, Rochdale and Leeds line.

Last week, Mr Rowen met with Councillor Keith Whitmore, Chair of the Greater Manchester ITA and Mike Renshaw, Director Rail to discuss the arrangements for bus and rail replacements during the shutdown of the Loopline for Metrolink conversion. At that meeting Mr Rowen was informed that Northern Rail had decided to keep the five sets of carriages currently operating on the Rochdale/Oldham Loopline. Something that Mr Rowen had been lobbying the Department of Transport to allow.

However, this week Mr Rowen has learnt that Northern Rail plans to use its rolling stock to fill other gaps in their other services across the country instead.

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "This is a real kick in the teeth for public transport in our area. I was very disappointed to learn that Northern Rail has no plans to use at least some of the carriages on the Leeds-Manchester via Rochdale Calderdale line. From this weekend passengers will lose the Loopline services. First Bus are diverting the 181 from Milnrow and Newhey to stop at Rochdale Railway station. However this will be a futile exercise if there are no additional carriages on the existing services.

Mr Rowen added: "I have written to the Managing Director of Northern Rail and demanded a review of the situation. Overcrowding is a big issue on our trains going to and from Manchester and Leeds, especially at peak times. These carriages are needed right here in Rochdale and I will continue to press hard to make sure our case is heard."

Greenwood, the Chairman of STORM (Support the Oldham, Rochdale, Manchester Rail line) said: "This decision is totally perverse. The Department for Transport should be doing more to ensure that these carriages are kept for use along the Caldervale Line into Manchester. This would help to ease the existing overcrowding which will only be increased by the Loop Line closure. All I can say is that if this same situation was happening in the South East, there is no doubt that this outcome would be totally different. This is another classic example of the Government not caring about public transport anywhere above Watford Gap."