Local MP Andrew Bingham has this week reacted angrily to the news that Glossop and Hadfield will lose the current Class 323 electric trains, amid fears that they could be replaced with inferior units.
The decision has come from the train leasing company Porterbrooks - who currently lease the electric trains to Northern Rail - not to offer them to the bidders for the new rail franchise, which begins next April. It is not yet clear what kind of trains they would be replaced by, but Andrew is fearful that the line will end up with inferior rolling stock, and has vowed to fight this possibility.
"I'm very concerned about this news. The decision to remove these electric trains from this line could be a real slap in the face for rail commuters across Glossopdale.
"The current trains are already some of the more modern on the network, and I really fear what commuters could end up with. I really hope that we don't end up with inferior or slower trains running on the line, as that would be a real step backwards.
"I have written a very strongly-worded letter to the train leasing company about this. I have also written to the Transport Secretary to express my anger about this decision, and I intend to speak to him face-to-face about this to see if he is able to intervene in any way.
"It is simply unacceptable that we could end up with an inferior service, and I will be fighting as hard as I can to prevent that outcome."
Many people have contacted Andrew over the last few months to ask about progress on the proposals for the Glossop Spur and Mottram Relief Road, which was announced late last year.
"I recently met with the Secretary of State and officials to discuss not only the committed scheme but also the proposed consultation on further solutions to alleviate the problems experienced in Tintwistle. Like many constituents, I am keen to see the project underway as soon as possible, a point I stressed to all at the meeting.
"Obviously with a scheme of this size there are statutory procedures to be undertaken, which will take time. However, I feel that things must begin as soon as possible. To that end the Department will soon begin discussions with key stakeholders e.g. Local Authorities, the Peak District National Park etc. to ascertain their views on what any extension to the scheme should look like and what alternatives would be effective. Whilst each organisation will determine how they engage with the Department, I feel sure they will fully embrace this opportunity to shape the future of any proposals that may come forward.
"Once this part of the process is completed the Department will take it forward to form a scheme to put to a full public consultation. This will obviously take some time as it will need to be a thoroughly researched and evidence-backed solution that could withstand any possible legal or judicial challenge from potential opponents.
"I fully appreciate, and indeed share, the desire to get on with this as the area has been waiting for too long already. However, I do feel it is important to get the solution right, so understand the approach being taken. I want to assure people though, that I will continue to press both the Secretary of State and his department to ensure that any delays are kept to a minimum.
"In addition to this commitment, the Government is also looking at the possibility of a Trans-Pennine tunnel connecting Manchester and Sheffield. Although I am supportive of this idea in principle, I think that such a project, whilst an ambitious aim, should not in any way sideline the other solutions being undertaken."
High Peak MP Andrew Bingham recently joined more than a dozen guests who attended a Summer Tea Party given by Hope Careline in the Peveril Centre, Castleton.
Hope Careline provides a free friendly telephone call every day to people who are living alone, elderly or vulnerable. Careline is particularly grateful to Margaret Evenson, Anchor Housing’s manager at Caroline Court, Hope, for the use of a room from which to operate.
At the tea party, the guests were welcomed by volunteers and offered a glass of Pimms and a chance to have a chat before sitting down to a cream tea. Andrew Bingham, the High Peak MP who has been so supportive of Careline since its inception, dropped in to say hello to the guests and volunteers.
“The Careline service is a great idea and I know from speaking to many of the users at the party how valued it is by them. It was good to meet some of the volunteers too, and to chat to the new chair, Elizabeth Wetherall, and the immediate past chair, Margaret Peel”.
To many of those who attended, this was a rare social outing which was very much enjoyed by one and all. They are now looking forward to the Christmas Party in December.
Several Careline users have said what a difference the service has made to their lives: “Your calls make my day”; “I have so many new friends now”; I look forward to our chats - a good start to the day”; “It’s a marvellous venture”.
For more information about Hope Careline contact the secretary on 01433 620507.
Local MP Andrew Bingham met with pupils from Buxton Community School recently, when they came down to Westminster for the day.
After going on a guided tour of Parliament, the group met Andrew for a talk and a Q&A session, when the pupils asked him about life in Westminster and his role as an MP.
Speaking afterwards, Andrew said:
"I'm very keen to get young people interested in politics, so I was delighted to meet with the group from Buxton Community School to talk to them about how Parliament works, and about what being a Member of Parliament involves.
"I always try my best to help bridge the gap between politics and people's lives, so if any other schools or groups would like a similar tour, please get in touch with my office, and I will do everything I can to arrange it."