I had to miss the East Coast Consultation today. Fortunately Dennis Peel from Tyne Valley Line Rail Users group could be there. I put in his summary highlights, his words:
" The change which may affect us is the suggestion that "feeder" services including N/C to Carlisle might be brought into the East Coast franchise. I asked and it was confirmed that if this were to occur it would be all lines in the North East, not picking and choosing. If this were to happen it would have a big effect on the present Northern Franchise and the date might be later than Dec 2013. Much interest from the users groups present on this topic.
The East Coast Franchise would run for 15 years and with slippage etc would be renewed around 2032 to coincide with HS2 coming to N/C. (As I see it (which I probably wont') HS2 does not cut N/C to London time, but brings in N/C to Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Heath Row) There would still need to be an East Cost route. "
This is a fascinating report. It confirms what in recent weeks we have been able to deduce. There is probably a rail industry turf war going on really driven by Heaton depot! The one depot which services all North East local trains is also a jewel in the crown for East Coast and for Northern's servicing schedules with it specialising in Pacers. If I managed East Coast I would want it and I would take the local services too. But we who live in the North East need our priorities to be heard. It is clear we have not done this very well for the last 5-10 years. If we had, the drive on the Lancashire Yorkshire Corridor or in South Wales would have comparable results here. Are politicians in the North East and Nexus going to belatedly wake up to what is going on? Our own MP Guy Opperman excepted or will we become bit actors in another's franchise for 15 years?