Morecambe parents angry after train timetable change leaves school kids waiting at Lancaster station for over an hour
Parents of schoolchildren in Morecambe and Bare have expressed their frustration after a vital train service from Lancaster was removed.
Holly Winder said her 13-year-old son and many other pupils now face a wait of more than an hour for a train home after school.
A train from Lancaster to Bare Lane and Morecambe had previously left Lancaster at 16.22, and was used by students at schools in Lancaster - including Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School and Ripley - who live in Morecambe.
Instead, trains now leave Lancaster at 15.25 and then at 16.43, leaving a long wait for youngsters to get home.
"This means the children waiting for an hour and 10 minutes on the platform," said Holly, who lives in Bare Avenue and whose son Harry is a pupil at LRGS.
"As parents who have just recently paid for the yearly train pass there is extreme anger as this was not told when purchasing the train pass.
"We all feel it does not serve a purpose for anyone finishing work at 5pm or for the school children who finish at 3.25.
"To have children as young as 11 waiting for a train for an hour and 10 minutes I find totally unacceptable."
"There is a lot of anger in the local community in Bare and Morecambe about this, due to the safety of the children especially in winter waiting for the train.
"We will now have to pay possibly for the bus, but can’t see how 4.45 serves any purpose or is of any use to anyone."
Other parents have also aired their concerns in a Facebook group for Bare residents.
One said: "Surely making children (some just in their first year at high school) wait for over an hour in the cold and dark is just not acceptable.
"Children's welfare is a priority and hopefully the train company will reassess this."
Another said: "The earlier train doesn't give my son time to wal from the grammar to the train station and the later one wastes so much time after school."
"Why isn't there a sensible time to return our kids from school" another asked. "With the nights drawing in, getting darker and cold, it's not fair on the kids and not safe either."
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on many parts of society and this includes the railway.
“As we, along with many other industries, continue to feel the impact of the virus we have had to make difficult decisions about which services we are able to operate.
“Although we are still providing a good service to customers travelling between Lancaster and Morecambe – with more trains per day, and in some cases two per hour, as part of the new timetable – I completely understand that some of the rescheduling may be frustrating.
“This is not a decision we took lightly and we have done everything possible to consult with our stakeholders. We operate on a complex network where even slight changes to a service can adversely impact several others across a large part of the region.
"By carefully managing the services we operate we can better ensure a reliable and stable service for rail travellers in the north of England.
“We are incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment shown by our colleagues over the past few months as we’ve delivered a reliable railway and steadily increased services.
"We have had to make some very tough decisions which, we understand, will have an impact on some of our customers’ journeys. All customers can rest assured that we are doing all we can to provide the best possible service in what continues to be extremely difficult circumstances.”