Mayor wins back ‘lifeline’ Fen services after train chiefs cave in
In a surprise U-turn following a meeting with Mayor James Palmer, train operator CrossCountry has announced it is reinstating the stops at Manea and Whittlesea stations which it axed last week.
The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough met company bosses on Friday to denounce the cuts CrossCountry had made on the Peterborough-Cambridge line – cuts which had a devastating impact on children and commuters struggling in the face of Covid to return to classroom and workplace.
Mayor Palmer was quick to contact the rail minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, to seek help in overturning CrossCountry’s decision to axe the stops – and local MPs Steve Barclay and Paul Bristow joined Mayor Palmer’s condemnation of cuts that further downgraded the already sparse service for Fenland passengers.
While he welcomed CrossCountry’s climbdown, Mayor Palmer said he would keep up pressure on the operator to deliver the trains and stops people need. And he warned that it was now up to everybody to protect their existing services and get behind his effort, through the Mayoral Combined Authority, to improve rail travel in future.
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough:
“I am thankful that Cross Country has stepped up and corrected this dreadful decision. These are lifeline services for Fenland people. They need more of them, not fewer, and we’ll hold CrossCountry firmly to account that this restitution is genuine and permanent and passengers can rely on it. CrossCountry’s backtracking is welcome – but there must be no backsliding.
“We have long pressed Cross Country to stop at these stations, and I think it is time we start asking the more fundamental question: ‘Can Fenland trust this operator to work with the Combined Authority for the good of the community, work with us to improve services, to help link people to opportunities, and to help them benefit from levelling up?’ The jury’s out, and I’ll be liaising closely with the Department for Transport to ensure CrossCountry starts increasing services as the economy recovers, rather than decreasing them.
“The Mayoral Combined Authority is pouring money into Fenland stations to upgrade them and CrossCountry must be relied on to match our investment by upgrading services, with more frequent trains and more frequent stops.
“But I also urge people to do their own bit to help keep the services running. Show CrossCountry you need and value these stops. Every company is vulnerable post-Covid and public transport must prove its worth if it is to keep going. So please use the train – don your mask, keep well spaced out, but use it or lose it.”
CrossCountry has informed Mayor Palmer that the following calls are to be re-started at Manea and Whittlesea from September 21st.
•0623 departure towards Peterborough
•0739 departure towards Cambridge
•1745 departure towards Cambridge
•1826 departure towards Peterborough
•0558 departure towards Peterborough
•0642 departure towards Peterborough
•0721 departure towards Cambridge
•0740 departure towards Peterborough
•1724 departure towards Cambridge