A CAMPAIGN group has welcomed the addition of an extra daily train that should help ease the burden on services used by morning commuters in and out of Bradford.

Regional train operator Northern has announced plans to run an extra train through Bradford Interchange from Halifax to Leeds on weekday mornings, starting on Monday.

The new service, which will start from Halifax at 7.28am, will be operated with a five-carriage train normally used on services to and from London run by Grand Central.

As well as offering an inter-city standard of comfort, including a first-class carriage and free Wi-fi, it is hoped the train will help to relieve overcrowding for passengers travelling into Bradford during rush-hour on the Calder Valley Line.

The service actually began running between Bradford Interchange and Leeds in July, leading to immediate calls from the Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG) for the service to start further up the line, highlighting the fact that it passed empty through Halifax on its route from the depot.

Stephen Waring, chairman of HADRAG, said: “This is excellent news for at least some commuters who have had to endure sardine-can conditions in recent months.

“We are really pleased Northern and Grand Central, sister companies under Arriva, have got together to do this.

“If people currently using the overcrowded two-coach 07.20 and 07.34 trains from Halifax transfer to this rather attractive new train, that will also leave more space for people who get on further up the valley or at Brighouse.

“It may also attract some people off the slightly later 07.49 from Halifax, this is a Blackpool-Leeds-York train that is also often extremely overcrowded.

“We understand that Northern are suffering from a rolling stock shortage, and we know the problem is not of their making because some good trains have been taken from the North of England to improve certain services in the South-East.

“We know one extra train won’t completely solve the problem and obviously the Northern train operator also realises that, but it is good they are listening and doing something. Something, we hope, on which to build.”

HADRAG stated it expected the extra service to operate at least until the end of 2017.

James Vasey, chairman of the Bradford Rail Users’ Group, also welcomed the extra service.

He said: “It’s great and will be very useful. I welcome it. If we could have a service out of Leeds back to Bradford, that would be great too. That is what we will be working towards next.”

A Northern spokesman said: “We realise that customers experiencing overcrowding during peak travel times are frustrated and we apologise to anyone who has an unpleasant journey because of this.

“To improve capacity between Halifax and Leeds we are introducing a new service on weekday mornings.

“The service, which will start on Monday 12 December, will leave Halifax at 07.28, calling at Bradford Interchange, New Pudsey and Bramley, before arriving into Leeds.”

“This will add more than 250 additional seats each morning from Halifax and will give passengers the added benefit of free wifi throughout the journey.”

According to station usage figures released this week from the Office of Rail and Road, Bradford Interchange saw 2,993,340 passenger entries and exits in 2015/16, up from 2,922,956 in 2014/15, making it the most frequently-used station across the district.

Bradford Forster Square saw 2,065,658 entries and exits, ahead of Shipley with 1,739,258, and Keighley with 1,702,720.