A transport authority has criticised a rail operator for its “poor” performance in tackling overcrowding on Bradford’s trains.

Passengers using Northern Rail trains in the district also saw a decline in the quality of services at stations, train shortages and maintenance problems, a report by transport authority Metro has found.

It comes after the rail company hiked fares by an average of 6.7 per cent at the beginning of the month – adding around 20p to 30p to ever journey.

Now frustrated commuters who use rush-hour trains into Bradford and local rail groups have vented their anger and say they are being forced to pay higher fares for an increasingly poor service.

Commuter Lesley McGorr-igan, from Saltaire, travels daily on Northern trains and is a Metro annual season ticket holder.

She sent the picture (right) to the Telegraph & Argus of what she described as “chronic overcrowding” on the evening rush hour Leeds to Skipton train.

“This overcrowding in the rush hour occurs every weekday,” she said.

The comments follow the publication of a report to the Council’s Bradford District Liaison Committee, which is responsible for monitoring bus and rail performance in the district.

The report by Metro stated so-called “strengthening” – adding extra carriages during rush hour – had been “poor” in the last three months.

The continued shortage of diesel trains also “continued to be a problem”, the report claimed.

Mick Swales, 44, who travels to work in Bradford city centre from Bingley, said: “I appreciate that there has got to be investment in the service and somebody has got to pay for it, but it is frustrating that there are fare rises when the service is unreliable.”

In its report, Metro also highlighted details of delays and cancellations caused by cable theft over 12 months to November last year.

They peaked in April with 4,000 minutes of delays across West and North Yorkshire.

Power failures and the death of a 14-year-old Bradford schoolboy, Hassan Mir, have also led to major delays on the network, according to the report.

A Northern train was stranded near Menston when a tree fell on the line on January 4. Passengers had to wait for engineers from Tadcaster to arrive before they were allowed off the train.

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail User Group (AVRUG) said one of the major problems facing commuters is Northern’s “ageing” fleet of trains.

The new trains it secured in December were diesels previously used in London and Birmingham, which were built in the mid to late 1980s.

Five “new” electric trains used on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines were sent south from Scotland, he said.

He added: “We find it unreasonable that the fare increases in Yorkshire are higher than the rest of the country when we are not getting new trains. We are not getting the big investment, which is largely in London and the South East. What we are getting is extra trains but they are 20 to 25 years old.”

James Vasey, chairman of Bradford Rail User Group (BRUG), also criticised the fleet. He said: “The problem is that Northern gets hand-me-downs from all over the country, then they get lumbered with fixing them, meaning they cannot run some at peak times.

“Everything we get is usually second hand and, unfortunately the south of England comes first. There is a north-south divide.”

Northern Rail was unavailable for comment ahead of publication.