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Mayor blocks plans for “cack-handed” Transpennine Express timetable changes

Mayor Ben Houchen today (September 13) blocked plans by TransPennine Express that would have seen services across the Tees Valley cut under “cack-handed” interim timetable plans.

At a Transport for the North meeting at Sheffield Town Hall, proposals were presented by rail operator TransPennine Express to introduce an interim timetable on October 15.

The plans would have seen a number of services cancelled or terminated early across the Tees Valley, North Yorkshire and the North East. Five direct services between Manchester Airport and Middlesbrough, also calling at Yarm, would have terminated at York both ways.

On the route from Newcastle to Manchester Airport via Darlington, five direct services would be removed completely, with the following three trains starting at York. From Manchester Airport, eight services on this route would run to York only.

At the meeting, Mayor Houchen joined other northern Mayors to condemn the plans, with a veto taking the proposals off the table entirely.

Mayor Houchen said: “These cack-handed plans were terrible, not just for the Tees Valley, but for rail users across the north. It’s a disgrace that TransPennine Express was even considering removing busy, vital rail services at a time when they should be bending over backwards for travellers.

“From day one, I have made it crystal clear that one of my top priorities was to ensure we have a modern, regular and reliable rail network that works for the people and businesses of the Tees Valley.

“At the Transport for the North meeting I was very vocal that I wouldn’t tolerate these ridiculous plans and I wasn’t alone. This is a victory, but stopping services being cancelled isn’t enough, and I will continue to press train companies for the improved services the people of the Tees Valley deserve.”

Mayor Ben Houchen is also continuing his campaign to extend services to Redcar and Saltburn, which this decision does not affect.