Gordon has written to the Rail Delivery Group to express his anger at further rail fare increases announced last week. 

In his letter he has described the rises as a “complete disgrace” and “unjustifiable”, particularly given the appalling service his Blackpool constituents have received in the past 12 months. 

He wrote: “I have read the email that you have put out about your average 3.1% increase in rail fares as from January – some fare rises of course will be significantly higher, but perhaps there is no surprise that you omitted to mention this in your email.

I realise you are only the messenger, but these rises are a complete disgrace and unjustifiable in the current climate , particularly given the appalling service I and my Blackpool constituents have received from the inept management of Northern Rail over the past 12 months . This is in addition to the further failings and misery piled on by a Network Rail who under its previous complacent Chief Executive badly let us down over the electrification and other works in the North West in the same period.

No amount of PR flimflam can excuse the systemic failings of operating companies like Northern Rail which provides the bulk of services in the Blackpool area. How dare you talk in your letter about ‘ even better value for money’ on the back of the grim customer experience along with expensive fares that you have doled out to passengers in the past 12 months?

As for trying to justify these increases on the grounds of so called ‘ upgrades’ the reality is that for much of the time this is just patch and mend , with no major improvements in times or service. The travel times on timetables currently being issued by Northern between Blackpool and Manchester for example have actually increased over the past 50 years – a journey that. used to be an hour by steam trains in the 1960s is now regularly 20-30 minutes longer under your operators.

I think my constituents and businesses in Blackpool are spoilt for choice – as to whether to blame you, Network Rail or the Government for the present shambles. Maybe the Williams Review will come up with some immediate proposals to curb the lack of accountability and poor management in the present system. But only a radical restructuring and a move to direct democratic accountability to communities and passengers is likely to improve things. You and your operators have run out of excuses.

Yours

Gordon Marsden – Member of Parliament for Blackpool South

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