Fears over rail service change

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Councillors have blasted proposed rail service changes that will affect two villages’ commuters.

Couns Damian Edwardson, Mike Crosby and Paul Collins, who represent Shevington with Lower Ground, are objecting to Arriva Rail North plans to terminate services from Appley Bridge and Gathurst at Manchester Victoria rather than Picadilly.

Coun Edwardson said: “We have been monitoring this situation for a while now and building up a picture of exactly what is going on regarding this very concerning proposal. We have already been in touch with Lisa Nandy MP and are now pleased to see that Wigan’s Chief Exec and senior management are also getting involved to try to resolve this matter.

“Over the last few weeks we have had an increase in residents’ telling us how concerned they are about these proposed changes, which could lead to the loss of a crucial commuter route and even cost some people their jobs as increased journey times will impact upon their employers.

“Having pored over the information regarding these proposed changes we cannot find a single reason that justifies losing this vital link between Piccadilly and our Appley Bridge and Gathurst stations. There is simply no sense in losing what is a very popular and essential route that enables workers, shoppers and students alike to access the south of Manchester and Airport express without needless and costly delays.

“We have also had complaints regarding the lack of public engagement over this proposal, and so have contacted the Managing Director of Arriva Rail North and offered to arrange a public venue and meeting in Shevington so that he and his staff can explain to our residents exactly why these changes are being proposed and what the perceived benefits are.”

Coun Edwardson is Labour’s candidate for Shevington with Lower Ground in May’s elections. Also standing are Janet Brown (Standish Independents), Arnold Foster (Ukip), Joseph Rylance (Green), and Jack Vickery (Conservative).