A CAMPAIGN group dedicated to caring for an increasingly popular railway station in the Bradford district has set its sights on a share of a £38 million improvement programme outlined by Northern Rail.

More than 50 people attended the first annual general meeting of the Friends of Baildon Station (FOBS), which was set up 18 months ago to help secure future investment in the site.

The group has drawn up a plan on how to improve the experience users of the single-track station, including the installation of a ticket machine and improved disabled access.

The long-term goal is to see the heritage station building restored into a passenger and retail facility for customers.

On the turnout at the meeting, FOBS chairman John Bowdery said: “This support from residents exceeds our expectations, and shows how important the station is to Baildon. We want to see the station improve and passenger numbers grow, and we aim to keep the pressure on Northern to deliver improvements from their £38m fund, both short and longer-term.”

One of the issues raised by the group has been the station’s unheated and often waterlogged passenger shelter, and passengers are able to express other concerns via social media.

Gill Dixon, a Baildon town councillor and founder member of FOBS, said: “Our community survey runs until May 31, and we want to know what people think are the most important improvements for Baildon. The link is on our Facebook page, and the more returns the better.”

According to data from the Office of Rail and Road, Baildon saw 276,716 passenger entrances and exits in 2015/16. The figure was up ten per cent from 250, 846 in 2014/15, the highest increase of any station in the Bradford district, and numbers have increased from 208, 456 in 2012/13.

FOBS said Northern had identified Baildon as having the third-fastest passenger growth across its entire network, and Richard Isaacs represented the operator at the meeting.

He said: “I had no idea there was such support for Baildon station in the community. I want to build a working relationship with you and I will champion what Baildon needs in the places where decisions are made.”

A spokesman for Northern added while it had begun developing its “significant programme” of modernisation, it was too early to identify specific funding allocations for individual areas or stations.

He added: “We are committed to bringing improvements to our stations during the next three years. This programme will see a combination of new or refurbished shelters and waiting rooms, refurbished toilets, new seating, new ticket machines, improved security and lighting, and accessibility improvements installed at the majority of stations managed by Northern.”