The meeting on 5th July largely concentrated on the forthcoming Cross Country franchise consultations and the relevance to the Durham Coast. With DfT thoughts of curtailing one of the two services per hour north of York in order to release a path north of Northallerton, we would like to see this train (presumed to be the current Reading-Newcastle) diverted on alternate hours via the Coast This would give new direct travel opportunities to Yorkshire & the Midlands, and with the Grand Central service on the other hour (and assuming Grand Central are granted their sixth path), an hourly service all day from Sunderland and Hartlepool to York.
Other improvements we would like to see to the Cross Country franchise include
- Increased capacity – longer trains & more luggage space
- A buffet counter in each train.
- A change to the on-the-day reservation policy – no reservations once the train has departed its originating station.
Our earlier meeting with Mark Wilson and Steve Payne of the Tees Valley Combined Authority had suggested that TVCA was largely supportive of the above. TVCA would be publishing its Strategic Transport Plan for consultation in October. This covered Rail matters such as increased service frequency, Middlesbrough station (increased capacity), Darlington station (connections with HS2) and a speed restriction study of both the Coast line and Stockton – Northallerton in conjunction with Network Rail.