Rail campaigners have warned MPs of potential job losses, cuts to services and higher ticket prices facing rail services in the North.
Members of the RMT union visited Parliament to highlight concerns about proposed changes to how the Northern and TransPennine franchises – which both serve Sheffield and Doncaster – will operate in future.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said the union was furious at the Goverment presenting ‘grand and uncosted plans’ for a new high-speed rail route in the North, while considering cuts to existing services at the same time.
The Department for Transport says the changes will result in ‘real improvements’ for passengers.
A decision on the new operators for the franchises will be made in October, with revised services starting from 2016.
Mr Cash said: “Government ministers and their Rail North allies are talking up grand and un-costed plans for HS3 while, at the same time, in the here and now, driving through proposals that would decimate rail services and rail jobs across the North.
“The fight to stop the outrageous carve up of jobs and services under the franchise plans is gathering pace and is sending out the clearest possible message to the Government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport services.
“Let’s not forget the core of the Government’s future plans for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, restrict services, and jack up fares, while capacity to meet surging rail demand is left to stagnate.”
A DfT spokesman said: “The new franchises for TransPennine Express and Northern will provide real improvements for passengers in the North of England.
“We recognise the value of customer-facing staff on the railways in providing a quality service to passengers and are not specifying any staff cuts.”
Sheffield Central’s Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough’s David Bunkett, and Rother Valley’s Sir Kevin Barron, are among more than 50 MPs to have signed the motion against proposals to change how the franchises operate.
The motion says MPs are ‘dismayed the proposals will result in fare rises, service cuts and job losses’.