Local Businesses Get their Say on Rail

Published 3rd Dec 2010 by Emma Sinfield

Local business leaders gave their feedback on the region's rail to senior executives from Virgin Trains at a meeting organised by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Delegates got the opportunity to present a list of improvements they want to see made to services, on the day that the Government announced a multi-billion pound investment in rail.

Chamber members and local government officials were joined by Paul Furze-Waddock, Business Development Director for Virgin Trains and three of his senior colleagues.

The discussion, which took place at the Chamber's area council meeting in November, highlighted reliability, overcrowding and ticketing as major issues for business passengers

Concerns were also raised about railway stations with some suggesting that they should be developed into local business hubs.

Steven Leigh, Head of Policy at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

"The Chamber is very pleased to have worked with Virgin Trains to organise this event. They have embarked on this series of consultations in order that they might hear first-hand the opinions of train users and businesses to assist them in determining their future strategies – and this can only be good for rail users.

"This topic affects not just local businesses but the whole Yorkshire economy and we are anxious that our part of the country should not be left behind in terms of road and rail infrastructure otherwise our ability to grow the regional economy will be seriously compromised."

Asked about the Government's announcement to invest £8bn on rail infrastructure and new carriages, Mr Leigh commented:

"It may be good for the UK as a whole but it provides little comfort for us in Yorkshire. Twelve
hundred of the carriages will be going to the South East and the remaining 650 will be shared around the rest of the country – meaning that the best prospect for our region will be some handed-down carriages that have seen plenty of service elsewhere." 

"We are very disappointed that there is not to be much-needed additional investment on electrification of cross-Pennine rail links in preference to the additional west-coast investments

"We really need to strengthen the lobby from MPs, Local Authorities and the future LEPs for more investment on vital road and rail infrastructure for our region."

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