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George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' Could See Scarborough Cut Off From the Rest of Yorkshire

In a news report by BBC Look North this week, it was revealed that Scarborough could lose its direct trains to Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool in a shake-up of rail services in Yorkshire.

The fears began following Chancellor George Osborne’s speech on Monday; when he spoke of his plans to create a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ with a high speed train line linking Leeds & Manchester.

Whilst this may be great news for most parts of Yorkshire, Scarborough could be left out of the plans, meaning all passengers traveling to or from the Yorkshire Coast would have to change at York.

There wasn't much detail in George Osborne’s speech. No information on routes, timescales or costs. However a consultation document on rail franchises from 2016 details more information about the future of rail services in Yorkshire - and Scarborough doesn't come out particular well.

One suggestion is that, instead of having Transpennine Express trains linking to West Yorkshire and the North West, Scarborough would become part of Northern Rail and instead get shuttle trains to York.

Businesses in the town have warned that if the plans go ahead the town’s economy would suffer.

Speaking to BBC’s Look North, John Senior, Chairman of South Bay Traders Association said:

“We’re a growth town, we’re a happening town. And I just find it quite extraordinary that at that very point that we are changing direction, it’s a point that they decide to threaten with disconnecting us from the system.”

The first stage of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ concept would be electrification. This would see new electric wires starting in Manchester. These overhead lines would run over the Pennines, through the city of Leeds and then on to York. When they reach York however the wires will stop; meaning diesel trains will have to run between York & Scarborough.

Councillor Janet Jefferson said of the plans:

“We are a destination. We are a tourist destination. We were one of the first places with the railway. We won’t be left out; we’ll make sure we won’t be left out.”

Craig Johnson of the RMT Union, the British trade union for transport workers, said:

“The important thing here is that we have proper railway infrastructure and the proper train services to serve the local communities and the local economy. This is a franchise shambles again!”

The proposed shakeup won’t go ahead for at least another 18 months’ but if it does get rubber stamped if would effectively leave Scarborough sat at the end of a 40 mile branch line – a very long way from any ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Have you say on the future of Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises here:

Photo credit: Scarborough Station by Carl Spencer, on Flickr

George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' Could See Scarborough Cut Off From the Rest of Yorkshire Reviewed by Editor on 10:46:00 Rating: 5

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