I am not expecting a return of Torchgate, which made the winter of 2011-12 a difficult time for many travellers on the Carlisle to Newcastle line; see my blogpost here:http://guyopperman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/torchgatethere-is-light-at-end-of.html
But, several readers and members of the Tyne Valley Rail Users Group have alerted by email myself, and Pete who does the casework in my small team, to possible problems as to the number of carriages / seats available on the morning train to Newcastle, and the evening return. It seems to have been missing a lot recently according to users of the 7.42 from Hexham and the 5.54 from Newcastle, who have written in. I have written to Northern Rail seeking answers. The interim reply I have received makes the point that the company does achieve its required targets 95% of the time. I cannot go further and comment on this without evidence, albeit the level of complaints and overcrowding has caused me to raise the point once again with the representatives of Northern Rail, seeking an urgent review of this situation. This situation will get worse particularly as Christmas approaches, with the inevitable problems of Christmas shoppers. If I wanted to see a silver lining it is the hope that any problems on the trains would make locals do their christmas shopping in the local shops of Tynedale! To be fair to Northern Rail they are good people doing the best they can, and they have come to Corbridge to meet with both myself and local rail users; but I would still like the evidence to put to them. I will update the blog when I know more.