Renewed hope for reinstatement of cross-country trains from Chesterfield

Hope is rising of more trains serving Chesterfield after a draft future timetable showed a full cross-country service.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 12:33 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 12:48 pm

CrossCountry Trains, which operates services between the South-West and North-East, withdrew the Chesterfield stop on many of its services during the pandemic, meaning passengers travelling to places such as Birmingham and Newcastle needed to change trains in Derby or Sheffield.

However, a draft timetable for next year, now open for public consultation, shows all services again stopping at Chesterfield.

Chesterfield resident Peter Kennan, Sheffield Chamber transport forum chairman, said: “It was disappointing when CrossCountry withdrew stops at Chesterfield on its Plymouth-Edinburgh train service, losing Chesterfield most of its direct trains to York, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol.

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“It is good to see the 2022 draft timetable reinstates those stops in full.

“The change was done to try to improve the on-time performance of the service by ‘stop skipping’, rather than based on any assessment of the needs of the travelling public.

“Transport for the North says ‘Put Passengers First’, but Cross Country seemed to prioritise its on-time performance in making the decision to remove the stops, rather than dealing with needs of the people for whom it runs the service.”

Monitoring demand

CrossCountry Trains operates services between the South-West and North-East, via Chesterfield.
CrossCountry Trains operates services between the South-West and North-East, via Chesterfield.

Anna Weeks, CrossCountry’s North East and Scotland regional director, said: “Due to the impact of the pandemic, we amended our timetable so some of our services did not call at Chesterfield.

“However, this is constantly under review. We are monitoring demand and engaging with stakeholders to inform future decisions.

“This remains the case in the May 2022 timetable. Chesterfield is therefore shown in the timetable, as all options are still being considered.”

The consultation is being held into the timetable of the East Coast Main Line, between London and Scotland, via Newcastle, which affects CrossCountry as it operates services on parts of the route.

CrossCountry, like other ECML operators, is asking for feedback on proposed changes to its trains along the route, which has undergone a decade of infrastructure upgrades to provide faster, more punctual and more frequent services.

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry managing director, said: “With more than 20 million passengers using the ECML, now is the time for us to work together to deliver a 21st-Century railway that benefits its users now and in the future.”

The consultation, at bit.ly/3zU7sD0, is open until August 5.

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