Posted 4th August 2021 | 5 Comments

Protests mount in reaction to East Coast changes

PLANNED timetable changes on the East Coast Main Line are fuelling growing protests, with councillors and MPs unhappy about the implications for Darlington.

LNER is proposing to increase the number of trains calling at Durham, but the price of that will be fewer trains calling at Darlington. LNER said the number of its trains calling at Darlington would come down from 62 to 53 daily, while the increases at Durham, involving three trains every two hours to Newcastle, York and London King's Cross instead of one an hour at the moment, will be counter balanced there by reducing the number of trains from Durham to Edinburgh to one every two hours. CrossCountry, however, will still provide an hourly service.

It is the changes at Darlington which have sparked most of the anger. Darlington Council leader Heather Scott has allied herself with local MPs Peter Gibson and Paul Howell. They are writing to all four of the operators which serve Durham, who also include Northern and TransPennine Express, calling on them to postpone any changes while a 'fully co-ordinated' public consultation is carried out.

Ms Scott told the BBC: 'The top and bottom of what LNER want to do is to cut the journey time from London to Edinburgh by bypassing Darlington station. We are objecting to that. We've got the treasury and various other departments coming here and all the developments on Tees Valley. It is the wrong time to be looking at reducing trains stopping in Darlington.

'We've also got money being spent on upgrading Darlington station and yet they are talking about taking trains away. It's absolutely ludicrous.'

LNER said its timetable revision 'better corresponds with passenger demand'.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Kenneth Harper, Kelso

    The problem seems to be integration of so many ECML users, leading to lost opportunities. Given the bailouts to DB & First Group perhaps they would merge their ECML operations into LNER. Spliting up Trans-Penine also makes sense with the southern route being merged into EMT, the Huddersfield group into LNER, and Avanti taking the WCML. The complaint will be lose of competition but Great British Railways makes this redundant. Certainly the north end proposals for the ECML make no sense 7 TPE workings only 2 with passengers ! madness. A better solution is a northbound TPE from York ex Liverpool calling Thirsk, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham and Chester Le Street,arriving into the north facing bay at Newcastle about 5 minutes before the KX- Edinburgh fast which should have run non stop ex London. Cross platform exchange with a 3 minute stop for the express which heads non stop for Edinburgh. The TPE follows 3 minutes behind stopping Morpeth, Alnmouth, Berwichk, Reeston, Dunbat, and Drem . This provides a local service and is quicker ex London to all destinations north of Newcastle. The fast service should be able to provide a 3hour 55 minute KX -Edinburgh. The TPE terminating service at York should run through to Sunderland, more connected thought please

  • Ben, Hull

    Laughable. Hull, 3 times the population of Darlo, gets 1 LNER service per day and another 5 or 6 HT services to London and not only that, we’re the poor relation of the TPE network. And it looks like we’ll get nowt out of the ‘Powerhouse'.

  • Andrew Gwilt, Benfleet Essex

    Is that why open access First Group East Coast Trains is to commence service before the end of 2021.

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    A tempest in a teacup? A mere 9 trains a day drop by LNER, at a station also served by TPE, XC & Northern?
    Get over it.


    Message deleted. [Not all capitals, please--Ed.]