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Wharfedale railway group set to disband
A passenger group that was set up when rail services along the Wharfedale route were under threat nearly three decades ago is to disband at the end of this month.
Wharfedale Rail Users’ Group (WRUG) was formed at a time of crisis for the Wharfedale Line in 1985 and has battled to turn around the fortunes of services on the route.
Now it is calling on campaigners to look towards a bigger national transport campaign group and wants the valley’s parish councils to take a bigger role.
WRUG was established when services to Bradford and Leeds were under threat. Since then the line has been electrified, with new trains, more peak hour services to Leeds, and better station facilities, including refurbished ticket offices.
Now three stalwarts of the group, chairman Peter Wilkinson, Mike Harris, and honorary secretary, Peter Johnson, all want to retire, and there is no-one to replace them.
They describe this as the ideal time to seek a new way forward.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Following the line’s electrification and improvements to service, passenger numbers have greatly increased. The train service has become a fully-specified part of the Northern Rail Franchise, with support from West Yorkshire Metro.
“There is now no threat of significant service reduction or closure of the line; indeed firm plans for longer Wharfedale Line peak hour trains to Leeds are part of the agreed Route Utilisation Strategy lodged with the Office of Rail Regulation.”
WRUG says the structure of the privatised network means campaigning is more effective through national groups, such as Railfuture or Campaign for Better Transport (CBT). But better integration of rail services and local bus networks is needed, says WRUG, and the West Yorkshire branch of CBT promotes all forms of public transport.
The group believes provision of station facilities would be best pursued by station groups or parish councils.
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