Train Operating Companies: Yorkshire — [Dame Cheryl Gillan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:03 am on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North 10:03 am, 19th December 2018

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. There are real questions for the Department for Transport about whether TransPennine is meeting its franchise specification.

We were really proud in Hull to get the open-access operator Hull Trains in September 2000—we had to fight to do so. It has been a brilliant flagship open operator service since 2000, but it has really deteriorated in the past 12 months. It has only four trains, which are constantly being taken off to be repaired. They are class 180s—people who know about these things have told me that they are not fit for purpose for the route that they travel every day on the east coast main line. Customers are so frustrated at the cancellations and the services that stop at Peterborough or Doncaster. They do not feel that Hull Trains is giving them fair information in good time.

My hon. Friend Emma Hardy, who unfortunately cannot be here this morning, has asked me to say that Hull Trains is due to get new trains at the end of 2019, which is very welcome. However, we think that First Group needs to put pressure on to get those trains to us sooner. The past 12 months have been disastrous for Hull Trains’ customer relations. We need those trains in Hull as soon as possible. The managing director told me that she might be able to get an additional train from somewhere else after Christmas. That is welcome, but Hull Trains really needs to sort itself out. I am pleased that the Minister, a Yorkshire MP, is in his place, and I hope we will start to see some real changes over the next few months in rail services in the north.