FOUR groups of rail users are behind a major new push for electrification of the rail line running into Bradford Interchange, which would see the end of ageing diesel trains.

The four, including Bradford Rail Users Group (BRUG) and Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG) have joined together to launch a campaign this week in a bid to revive plans for railway electrification across the north of England, starting with the Calder Valley Line.

The groups, which also include STORM (Oldham and Rochdale rail users group), and Upper Calder Valley Sustainable Transport Group, cover the length of the key strategic route, which links Leeds with Manchester and Preston, via both Bradford and Brighouse.

The grass-roots campaign, called the Electric Railway Charter, is being launched on Thursday in Halifax, where the founding groups aim to seek support for their Charter from a range of local and regional groups, after having grown frustrated at delays to rail schemes.

The Charter has a strong environmental focus and it calls for a sustainable railway, rejecting the idea of diesel-powered bi-mode trains as a solution.

James Vasey, chairman of BRUG, told the Telegraph & Argus: “It’s an important step to get attention for electrification in the north after it had almost been abandoned.

“Diesel trains are heavier and more expensive and a move to electrify the Calder Valley Line would bring it in line with the Airedale Line out of Forster Square, which was electrified in the early 2000s.”

Stephen Waring, chairman of HADRAG, said: “Through the Electric Railway Charter we want to unite environmental, operational, business and economic objectives in a campaign for rail electrification.

“After the launch on Thursday we shall be seeking to sign up a wide range of organisations in support. We want a modern railway that provides an alternative to congested roads, and one that fully plays its part in improving air quality and combatting climate change.”

In March 2015 the Northern Electrification taskforce recommended 12 lines for electrification in an initial five year programme, ranking the Calder Valley Line in top place.

More recently the Government announced that a TransPennine Route Upgrade, to electrify the route from Manchester to Leeds and York via Huddersfield, should start as soon as possible.

The new Charter believes that the electrification of the Calder Valley Line would be a natural follow-on to the Huddersfield Line upgrade.