Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, this week met with HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson to call on the Government to change its plans to mothball Metrolink services on the line through Audenshaw.
The move to suspend the line was announced as part of a new HS2 Bill. The Bill confers the powers required to construct a part of the second phase of HS2, linking Crewe to Manchester with a new railway line. However, as part of the major construction involved in the project, the Government is planning on suspending Metrolink services on the Ashton line for a significant period of time – possibly years – with a replacement bus service providing access from Ashton to New Islington.
Gwynne has held a number of discussions with Transport for Greater Manchester, and is urging the Government to work with TfGM to develop an alternative approach to the proposed suspension.
Gwynne is being supported in his calls by Angela Rayner, and Jonathan Reynolds, MPs for Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge and Hyde respectively. Rayner wrote to the Secretary of State last month, but according to Gwynne received an ‘extremely disappointing’ response from the Minister.
Gwynne has pledged to continue to put pressure on the Government to think again.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“The suspension of this service would be nothing short of disastrous for people across Tameside. These tram links are vital for local communities, and fobbing people off with a rail replacement bus service simply won’t do.
We all want to cut journey times, but the Government needs to develop a construction plan that doesn’t impede travel for people in Tameside. I simply don’t buy the Government’s argument that there is no alternative to these damaging proposals.
In my meeting with the Minister, he agreed to share information with TfGM, and look at possible alternative solutions. I’ll keep pressing him to do more. Angela, Jonathan and I will also be writing to the Secretary of State, following the extremely disappointing response that Angela received earlier this month”