Lisa Nandy MP: Rail system is failing passengers

After one of the hardest winters many of us can remember, we all need a better year in 2023.
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But so far one thing is certain – another year means another hike in rail fares squeezing hard working families.

The recently announced rail fare increases will add on another £76 to an annual ticket from Wigan to Manchester and the annual fare from Liverpool to Manchester will rise to more than £3,000 for the first time.

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After 12 years, the Conservatives have left the North with crumbling infrastructure and failing operators.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

One in four morning rush hour trains between Wigan and Manchester were axed last year, despite myself, fellow MPs and rail passenger groups fighting hard for many years to prevent this.

It’s absurd that people who rely on trains to get to work, education and medical appointments are being so regularly let down.

Services connecting our major cities are slashed without warning by unaccountable private operators and the public pay ever more for less.

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Average fares have risen by 58 per cent since 2010, twice as fast as wages.

Prices are going up rapidly and wages are not keeping up.

Meanwhile the long-promised and much-needed transformation of the rail network across the North has effectively been cancelled.

The scaling back of Northern Powerhouse Rail, the scrapping of the proposed new high-speed line from Manchester to Leeds via Bradford, coupled with the cancellation of the Eastern leg of High Speed 2 is a double blow for our region and the whole of the North of England.

Both schemes would have created more than 150,000 new jobs and connected 13 million people in major towns and cities in our industrial heartlands across the North.

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There is another way though – we can cast aside the tired system that has failed passengers.

A Labour Government will bring railways back into public ownership as contracts expire, because we believe in a public transport system where power is in the hands of the public with lower fares and more reliable services.

I would like to wish everyone in Wigan all the best for 2023.