West Yorkshire rail investment plan is welcomed

The authority responsible for train travel in West Yorkshire said that it wants to see responsibility for rail franchising devolved to a new Rail in the North Executive to ensure a quality of services across the north.

Metro made the announcement as Network Rail unveiled a £37.5 billion plan to run and expand the railways between 2014 to 2019.

If the Network Rail plan is approved, it will provide 170,000 extra commuter seats at peak times by 2019 across the UK. It envisages improvements that by 2019 there will be 700 more trains a day linking key northern cities and a ten-minute reduction in journey times between Manchester and Leeds.

Metro chairman Councillor James Lewis said passengers would be pleased.

“Platform lengthening, changes to Huddersfield rail station and the ability to run more services east of Leeds to relieve pressure on Leeds rail station will all help to meet the forecast increase in the number of rail journeys made each year,” Coun Lewis said. “These developments will build upon the work Metro is already carrying out to develop new stations at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge and Low Moor.”

James Vasey, chairman of Bradford Rail Users’ Group, said that the announcement was “the second in a three part dance between the Government, Network Rail and the Government”.

He said: “Bradford’s investment appears to be work around the Mill Lane Junction, due to the drive-in-reverse-out nature of Bradford Interchange. They are very complicated junctions to allow trains from Leeds to reach Halifax and vice-versa. Unlike a shiny new train these important improvements won’t be “seen” by passengers directly, but will be noticed by more on-time departures from the station and across the line.”

Bradford Council leader David Green agreed with the suggestion of devolving powers. “Investment in railways has got to be welcomed,” he said.

“We have got to ensure we have a fair share of that in West Yorkshire as we have congested rail services.”

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