Rail passengers in Bradford district may have to travel on 30-year-old “cast-off” trains as part of a £530 million plan to ease congestion on some of the country’s most overcrowded routes.

Ambitious plans to transform rail travel have been put forward by Network Rail to slash journey times and introduce new services, including direct journeys from Bradford to Manchester Airport.

But major concerns have been raised by Metro, West Yorkshire’s transport authority, after the Department for Transport (DfT) axed plans for 200 new diesel trains to be used by operator Northern Rail for the new services.

Instead, the new routes will initially use fewer trains and many will be second-hand, refurbished diesel trains, up to 30 years old.

They will be brought in from elsewhere across Britain as they become redundant on new electrified lines proposed by the DfT.

Bradford Tory Councillor and Metro deputy chairman, Chris Greaves, said: “It is totally unacceptable, both in the quantity and the quality of the stock – this is yesterday’s technology.

“The Government is saying ‘we will electrify part of the national network’ and they will be basically giving us the old cast-off diesel trains.”

Network Rail’s plans, called Northern Hub, are designed to ease pressure on bottlenecks around Manchester.

Clive Barton, vice chairman of Bradford Rail User Group (BRUG), said any old trains brought in to use needed to be re-manufactured.

He said: “If not, all they will get is a load of junk. They will get failures galore and it will not bring the business in.

“They need to get reliable trains to build the business up to reduce people’s carbon footprints and reduce congestion.”

The proposals, due to be delivered by March, 2014, will reduce overcrowding on trains in Bradford district and other parts of the region and have been welcomed by Metro and Bradford’s business community.

However, the DfT has made no promises about how many trains and carriages will be used for the new routes and services, when they will be brought in and how much it will cost to provide them.

A spokesman said: “The department is currently in discussion with Northern Rail on measures to reduce crowding on their most popular services.

“In addition, our £200m electrification programme is set to improve journeys in the North West in a few years’ time, freeing up some diesel trains for use on other routes.”

Metro’s executive is expected to seek assurances from any future Government that more trains would be made available for the new northern network.

Chairman Ryk Downes will be asked to write to the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, calling for the first phase of additional carriages to be made available quickly. He will also call for a “firm commitment” to a second phase of carriages ahead of an assessment by the DfT of how many trains are needed for Northern Rail services.

The Department for Transport is now working with Metro and passenger groups to find out how many trains and carriages will be needed on the Northern Rail network and how much they will cost.