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Calls for improvements to rail service through North Staffordshire on Crewe-Derby line

Stoke South MP Jack Brereton

The Transport Minister has backed calls for improvements to some rail services through Stoke-on-Trent, after a petition was launched by a Potteries MP.

It was started by member for Stoke South, Jack Brereton, who has described the service provided on the line from Crewe to Derby as 'not fit for purpose'.

In his petition, he quotes a recent Stoke-on-Trent City Council study, which found that the use of a one- or two-carriage train, once an hour, is failing to meet demand.

Mr Brereton has also raised concerns that stock currently used on this line will not meet disabled access requirements coming into force before the end of 2019.

It comes ahead of the award of the new East Midlands rail franchise in 2019.

At Mr Brereton's invitation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has visited the city to see for himself the concerns that have been raised.

Mr Grayling said: "I am absolutely clear that the East Midlands franchise has got to do a better job on the line between Stoke and Derby.

"These one coach trains, absolutely packed at peak times, have to change.

"These are trains that belong to the past.

"We need longer trains on this route, and I am determined that should happen." 

The Stoke South MP has also suggested that some mothballed stations in the city should be reopened, in particular those in Meir and Fenton, to ease congestion on the roads.

Mr Grayling says there is funding in place that could make that idea a reality.

He said: "We have money that was set aside for transport improvements in places like Stoke-on-Trent, from the budget in the autumn.

"I want to see the city take advantage of that opportunity.

"I am talking to Jack Brereton and city council leaders to see how best we can take that forward, what kind of things they may need, and how best they shape something that we seek to fund."

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