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Debbie Abrahams MP campaigns against rail fare rises at Greenfield station
Wednesday 3rd January 2018 @ 16:43 by Tom Greggan

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has been campaigning at Greenfield train station against a 32% rise in rail fares since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

Yesterday morning, commuters woke to the steepest hike in 5 years, with ticket prices rising up to 3.6%, and Debbie joined campaigners at the station to protest against the rise.

Debbie, who has made lobbying for fairer trans-Pennine train fares as one of her top ten constituency priorities, said: “Passengers using Greenfield Station, and across the country, have faced unacceptably high fare rises since 2010 under this Tory government.

“Fares have risen by 32% since the Tories came to power. On top of this, in the last couple of years, passenger numbers at Greenfield have increased by nearly 8%.”

According to figures released by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the number of rail passengers using Greenfield station has risen from 314,512 in 2014-15 to 338,694 in 2015-16; an increase of 7.69%.

Nationalisation of the railways was a key policy of Labour’s general election campaign last year and Debbie repeated calls for public ownership of the railways.

She said: “Labour would bring our railways into public ownership meaning fares would be capped; services would be better and more reliable; and there would be investment in our railways.

“I have regular contact from constituents raising concerns about the low number of trains running each hour, the frequent overcrowding, the quality of the rolling stock and the ever increasing cost of tickets.”

She continued: “This year commuters will also see a 44 minute wait between peak services to and from Greenfield Station due to revised timetables and a re-routing to Manchester Piccadilly (instead of Manchester Victoria and Salford) impacting many work journeys.

“I am contacted on a daily basis about train delays or cancellations of trains without any notice. It is just not good enough.”

The MP, who is entering her seventh year in Parliament, also bemoaned a lack of investment on rail infrastructure, despite continuous price increases.

Debbie added: “There are also the ongoing issues about the station’s lack of accessibility to people with mobility issues, such as wheelchair users and parents with small children. 

“It is unacceptable given that Greenfield has seen the largest percentage increase in usage of any station between Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds that the Government continues to drag its feet on improving access.

“Rail passengers were always told that higher fares were necessary to fund investment, but vital projects have been delayed by years and essential maintenance works have been put on hold.

“The truth is that our heavily fragmented railways mean that it takes years longer and costs much than it should to deliver basic improvements. The railways need reforms that could be implemented if public ownership was extended to passenger services, but the Tories are persisting with a failed model for purely ideological reasons.”