Call for more carriages after trains ‘too full’ by the time they arrive into Hartlepool

A two-carriage Northern Rail service to Newcastle pulling out of Hartlepool Rail Station.
A two-carriage Northern Rail service to Newcastle pulling out of Hartlepool Rail Station.

Calls have been made for rail bosses to increase the size of trains travelling through Hartlepool after claims passengers are struggling to get on.

Hartlepool councillor Marjorie James said that on a Saturday people are getting on Northern Rail services to Newcastle a stop earlier at Seaton Carew because there is no room by the time it pulls into Hartlepool Railway Station.

Coun James urged council chiefs to put pressure on rail provider Northern to put on four carriage trains, especially on a Saturday, instead of just two.

But train bosses said their plans to improve services have been stalled by a delay in investment to the network by Network Rail.

Coun James said: “When we started getting on at Seaton Carew at the beginning of the football season last August there were about 10 people getting on at Seaton Carew.

“There are now about 50 people getting on at Seaton Carew, all of which previously would get on at Hartlepool Railway Station.

“Shoppers and everyone else just cannot get on a two carriage train, it’s already full when it gets to Hartlepool which is why they are getting on at Seaton Carew.

“I would like to see the council challenge that with Northern Rail to make some improvements that on Saturday it needs to be a four carriage train all day.”

The issue was referred to Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods to investigate.

When approached by the Mail, Northern said a delay in Network Rail investment, including the electrification of the line between Manchester and Preston, was having a knock on effect on its plans to roll out a new £500m fleet of trains.

It said it is having to reallocate diesel trains from elsewhere to continue to be able run services in the North West, rather than them being available to enhance services elsewhere like Hartlepool.

Managing director David Brown said: “We are doing everything we can to get things back on track as quickly as possible for our customers across the North.”

Network Rail said: “Unforeseen poor ground conditions, changes in project scope and poor contractor performance, most notably by Carillion before its eventual collapse, have delayed the completion of the Manchester-Preston upgrade. With Amey now on board as our main contractor, we’re seeing real progress towards the completion goal.”