Train company's U-turn on stopping peak-time services at Chesterfield welcomed

Politicians have welcomed a train company’s decision to restore peak-time services to Chesterfield as the town battles to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
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CrossCountry had come under fire after announcing it would stop calling its trains north and southbound between Scotland and the South West at Chesterfield.

It has now revealed a partial U-turn and trains will stop at Chesterfield at the busiest times of day – after the issue was raised by the Derbyshire Times and the town’s political leaders.

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Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said she was ‘delighted’ at the news.

Chesterfield train station.Chesterfield train station.
Chesterfield train station.

“As soon as I was made aware of the threat to CrossCountry services being withdrawn from Chesterfield station I wrote a very strongly worded letter to the regional director and involved local MP’s,” she said.

“We followed this up with very constructive conversations with CrossCountry and their new Regional Leadership Team.

“Chesterfield Borough Council and our partners across Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and East Midlands have been campaigning for the full re-instatement of the CrossCountry service since we heard it may be withdrawn.

Councillor Tricia Gilby welcomed news that CrossCountry trains had changed its mind.Councillor Tricia Gilby welcomed news that CrossCountry trains had changed its mind.
Councillor Tricia Gilby welcomed news that CrossCountry trains had changed its mind.
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“In normal circumstances around 620,000 passengers a year use CrossCountry services at Chesterfield, and whilst we are trying to rebuild the local economy and minimise the negative impacts on residents of our borough and surrounding area, the action being proposed to temporarily suspend of all CrossCountry stops at Chesterfield from 6 July was appalling.

“These services are critical to key workers and the growing numbers of people that are beginning to travel as the lockdown eases. The provision of regular and reliable public transport will be an essential part of our coronavirus recovery plans for the borough and northern Derbyshire communities.”

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley described the restoration of peak services as a ‘step forward’.

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley at Chesterfield station.North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley at Chesterfield station.
North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley at Chesterfield station.

“Like so many residents and commuters, I was very disappointed when I heard the original announcement and have been in communication with CrossCountry to let them know my thoughts,” he said.

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“Thankfully, they have taken on board feedback from myself, Mark Fletcher MP, local Councils and residents regarding the strength of feeling about these changes.”

Tom Joyner, managing director of CrossCountry said: “I am grateful to Lee and others for highlighting the continuing need for our trains at the busiest times of day.

“The railway is still focused on helping key workers and people traveling for essential reasons, so it’s good to be able to react quickly to this feedback and keep these services for rail users in Chesterfield and the surrounding areas.”

Philip Riden, chairman of Chesterfield and District Civic Society, said: “Although great credit is due to Lee Rowley MP, Chesterfield Borough Council and the Derbyshire Times for persuading Cross Country to slightly amend their decision to stop services calling at Chesterfield, their response is not a solution to the problem.

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“The fact remains that from this week the company is providing Chesterfield with a much poorer service to a long list of important destinations than it has enjoyed for over a century.”

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