A PUBLIC meeting to discuss concerns about rail services for a market town is being held next week.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones is hosting the meeting for people to air their views about trains to and from Chester-le-Street.

The open meeting, which comes amid the threat of cuts to services, will be attended by representatives of Transpennine Express, Network Rail and Transport for the North.

Mr Jones said: “Chester-le-Street station is a vital link for local people, but in recent months passengers have suffered constant disruption, with services cancelled on a regular basis.

“I have arranged this meeting so that constituents can speak directly to the representatives of the companies about the impact which these failures have, and to demand commitments from them to improve the service.

“We need assurances that Chester-le-Street residents can rely on trains calling at the town, and that the station is a priority for these organisations in their forward plans.”

The meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday, September 20, at Chester le Street Methodist Church.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are always keen to work as closely as possible with residents, local politicians and train operating companies to improve the railway.

“A representative from Network Rail will be on hand at the public meeting on Thursday, September 20 to answer any questions which residents may have and we look forward to seeing them there.”

The Government is carrying out a review that could see less services stop a smaller railway stations in the region, such as Chester-le-Street.

The proposals are part of a bid to reduce overcrowding on long-distance journeys by reducing the number of commuters and shorter journeys.

A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “We are attending the Chester-le-Street meeting and welcome the opportunity to discuss with people their concerns about rail services.

“We encourage people who wish to address their concerns to us to please come to the meeting for a face-to-face conversation.”

Earlier in the year, the manned ticket office run was closed and replaced with automated machines.

A Transport for the North spokesperson said: “Our brief is to ensure the best connectivity possible for rail users in the north and ensure agreed service levels are in place to help people go about their business and help the north grow its economy.

“We remain committed to that brief.”