A campaign to improve direct rail links between Keighley and London is gathering momentum.

John Grogan, the town’s prospective parliamentary Labour candidate, is backing efforts to introduce extra services.

His support has been welcomed by those who have been working for years for improvements.

Currently there is one East Coast direct service a day between Keighley and London, which heads to the capital in the morning and returns in the evening.

Mr Grogan said this year there was a “great opportunity” to argue the case for more services to London from Shipley, Keighley and Skipton. “Many local businesses have already told me that more trains to London throughout the day – perhaps with one arriving at 9am – would greatly assist them,” he said.

Coun Graham Mitchell, who chairs the town council’s watch and transport committee, said: “Three years ago we hosted a meeting with the Alliance group about the idea of having additional trains between London and Keighley and Skipton. We told them what we would like to see.

“With the East Coast franchise coming up, we are interested in getting the bidders talking to people in Keighley.”