Uttoxeter’s Member of Parliament, Andrew Griffiths, has branded the first stage of his rail campaign a success after details were published about the future rail franchise which is due to begin in August 2019. The new franchise commits the next operator of the Derby to Crewe line that runs through Uttoxeter to increasing the train service through the town.
The Government has just published the Invitation to Tender document for the next East Midlands franchise, which details the objectives that the train companies bidding must demonstrate they can achieve if they are to be awarded the running of the line. This includes a requirement that additional early and late services run on the Derby to Crewe line to help increase capacity at rush hour.
Andrew had previously written to Rail Minister Jo Johnson MP, urging him to ensure that an improved service for trains running through Uttoxeter was included in this tender document, to ensure that it would be a requirement for any new company taking over the franchise. With the publication of the tender document showing that this requirement has been included, Andrew has hailed the first stage of his campaign to improve the rail service through Uttoxeter as a success.
The tender document also revealed that the successful bidder would be encouraged to put forward proposals for additional space on train services for special events, which would include race days at Uttoxeter racecourse.
Andrew said: “It is brilliant news that the Government has recognised the need to improve rail services through Uttoxeter and has included this requirement in the Invitation to Tender document. I have been campaigning for some time now to see more and longer trains coming in and out of Uttoxeter, particularly on race days, and this move is a success for the first stage of the campaign.
“The next stage is to push the companies tendering to submit the best bids possible. I have met with both Network Rail and the current operator, and have subsequently been meeting the other bidders to make the case for changes that Uttoxeter needs. I will continue to press all of the companies bidding over the coming weeks as to just how important these improvements are for the community in Uttoxeter.
“If the companies bidding to take on the tender meet the requirements that are outlined, then we will see an improved service through Uttoxeter, which will be good news for all who live in, work in and visit the town.”
As well has holding meetings with the potential operators and Network Rail to discuss the plans, Andrew also met with the previous Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, to raise his concerns about the service through Uttoxeter.
The tender document also details obligations for the future operator of the East Midlands franchise to improve the ticketing system for customers to ensure that the process of buying a ticket is easier and fairer as well as introducing a delay repayment scheme which would allow customers to receive compensation for journeys delayed by 15 minutes or more.