A Southport councillor is celebrating the end of the Virgin franchise on the Train lines from Liverpool Manchester and Wigan to London. And he is calling for a similar prompt end to the franchise between Southport and Manchester which is presently held by Northern Rail.

Councillor Tony Dawson says:

“The big issue with Virgin has been both price and timetabling. Sometimes it is seriously cheaper to fly to London which cannot be right, from a ‘climate change’ point of view as well as by the way it hits the pocket.”

“And it is wrong that the last Virgin trains north from London leave so early that no one can do anything useful in London in the evening and still get back to Southport for 1.00 am. “Their pricing structure has been mad, too, meaning that their trains are often either half empty or grossly overcrowded.”

“Although their trains are relatively fast and punctual, Virgin’s priorities have always been shareholder, not passenger, which is why thy have now lost both East Coast and Wes Coast Mainlines.”

“As a regular user of both services, I can say without question that Northern are far worse than Virgin ever were. – their services just don’t affect those London-centric government people who make the franchising decisions. Seeing the plight of distraught pensions on windswept rainy Salford Crescent station, when their train has come in late and their connections have been cancelled for one of a whole series of repeated ‘reasons’, is distressing with no obvious end in sight.”

” Add that to their overcrowding on dirty outdated trains on the Southport to Manchester line, Northern just have to go.”

“It is amazing how Arriva, who own Northern, also run the Merseyrail network which may have its own faults occasionally but is magnificent in comparison. I hope a new operator, or a return to public ownership as has happened with the East Coast main line, can bring an early improvement.”