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Passenger watchdog and MP demand action on Aire Valley and Wharfedale routes
Train shortages on lines in the district are causing some of the worst passenger overcrowding in the country, it is claimed.
Rail watchdogs say the Government must invest “significant” money into providing more trains and carriages and lengthening platforms.
Network Rail, which is responsible for the rail infrastructure, has drawn up plans to deal with a huge increase in rail users, especially on the Airedale and Wharfedale routes.
But Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail User Group, said it was “far from clear” where the money was going to come from.
Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies said: “This is a problem which is getting worse. The number of people using the trains locally is going through the roof and they have not got the additional capacity to cope.
“The Wharfedale and Airedale lines are among the most overcrowded in the country.”
On the daily 5.26pm train from Leeds to Skipton, for example, around 550 people are trying to cram into just 350 seats, leaving an average of 50 people per coach standing.
Northern Rail had temporarily increased the number of carriages on trains running at peak times but the number of carriages was reduced when the school term started.
Peter Johnson, chairman of the Wharfedale Rail User Group, said members were aware of overcrowding between Baildon, Guiseley and Ilkley. He said: “This is a symptom of the wider problem which has been going on for some time.
“The solution to that problem rests firmly at the door of the Department for Transport. We are still waiting to see what they will do.”
A DfT spokesman said: “We are involved in detailed commercial negotiations to deliver additional trains for the busiest services in the North of England, including the Leeds-Bradford and Leeds-llkley routes. We hope to make an announcement about this in due course.”