6th Dec, 2016

Ministers see Coventry as 'an inconvenience on way to Birmingham', says MP

Les Reid 6th Jun, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

COVENTRY is viewed by the government as ‘an inconvenience on the way to Birmingham’, says an MP who has tabled a Parliamentary motion over the threat of losing inner-city trains.

A public consultation launched by the government which could see rail services between Coventry and London reduced has been criticised by Coventry MP Jim Cunningham.

The Department for Transport consultation launched on May 10 this year proposes reducing the number of stops at ‘intermediate stations’ on the West Coast Main Line.

The intention is to reduce journey times from London to Birmingham.

Questioned tabled by the Labour MP for Coventry South in the House of Commons highlight the number of passengers travelling from and to Coventry railway station have nearly trebled in the last decade.

In 2004/5 the estimated number of passengers travelling to Coventry was 1,175,998, compared to 3,126,444 in 2014/15.

Mr Cunningham said: “It is simply unacceptable that the government has launched this consultation which proposes scaling back rail services to Coventry when actively promoting the HS2 project which bypasses the city entirely.

“This is a time where passenger numbers to and from Coventry station are increasing so dramatically year on year.

“Even maintaining services at the current level would see us moving backwards in a few years due to increased demand.

“The government talks about a ‘West Midlands Engine for Growth’ but makes every action to the contrary.

“If Coventry is expected to continue to grow and succeed we need more regular rail services with greater capacity, not less.

“By entertaining these ridiculous proposals the government has shown that it views Coventry as an inconvenience on the way to Birmingham.”

Mr Cunningham has also tabled a ‘early day motion’ in Parliament which calls on the government to safeguard regular rail provision at those stops set to be bypassed by the High Speed 2 project.

The consultation entitled ‘Future of InterCity West Coast rail franchise’ is due to close on August 2, 2016.

Coventry City Council cabinet member for business, Jim O’Boyle, is among those who have called on Coventry people to have their say in the consultation, in opposition to the proposal to cut trains in and out of the city.