Questions over rail promises

Hebden Bridge Railway Station open as part of Heritage Weekend.

Hebden Bridge Railway Station open as part of Heritage Weekend.

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Campaigners have reacted with trepidation to news of rail upgrades in the north.

Announced last Thursday, Network Rail’s ‘Northern Programmes’, would see new connections from the Calder Valley to Manchester, along with improved journey times, new tracks and new signalling. These changes would be phased in from December 2017. But HADRAG (Halifax and District Rail Action Group) said the announcement has raised questions and more detail is needed.

Chair Stephen Waring said: “The obvious worry is that if improvements planned for December 2017 are to be “phased” this really means some of these improvements are actually being delayed, perhaps because certain infrastructure improvements are running late.HADRAG has asked Northern Rail for answers on several questions, but it’s pretty clear they must be as frustrated as train operators as we are as campaigners.Understandably they don’t seem to be able to give us a great deal of reassurance yet.”

The group says it still needs to know when planned Calder Valley Line timetable improvements are going to happen and when developments including additional early morning and late evening services through Brighouse and other improvements to the Calderdale-Leeds service are going to happen. It’s also asking if deadlines for hourly Leeds-Calderdale-Chester trains, additional Bradford-Manchester Sunday services and an extra Bradford-Manchester service every hour, all week, running to Manchester airport and the extension of an existing service to Liverpool will be met.

The group says it is hoping for answers on when promises will be delivered.