Northern urged to re-think train cuts that could 'abandon' many passengers

Train company Northern has been urged by Wakefield Council to re-think cuts which will see services reduced in the district.

By Nick Frame
Monday, 21st March 2022, 11:09 am

Coun Matthew Morley, cabinet member for planning and highways, says the move will 'abandon' many people with services to Pontefract and Knottingley to be reduced while the Wakefield to Huddersfield route, which is a key link that cannot be replaced by buses, still has no services.

Coun Matthew Morley said: “I’m totally dismayed to see that although some train services will be reinstated in May, others will be taken away, meaning this district is no better off.

“Having access to regular and reliable train services is extremely important to many residents, who are dependent on public transport.

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A new timetable will be put in place in May.

“I urge Northern to think about the impact this is having on people and take action to return to a full timetable as soon as possible. I absolutely share the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s anger and frustration, as she seeks government’s reassurance that they will support operators to reinstate services as soon as possible.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I’m angry and disappointed to see yet another round of cuts to train services across West Yorkshire, with some of our least-connected communities being hit hardest.

“I have written to Northern seeking an urgent meeting to explain why these cuts are taking place, and what steps they will be taking to return to a full timetable.

“I am deeply concerned that the impact of the pandemic is being used as a smokescreen for cuts to local rail services and have written to the Transport Secretary to confirm that his government is committed to supporting operators to re-instate services as soon as possible.

“Rail demand has been recovering more quickly in the north than in other parts of the country. At a time when people are returning to offices to work or visiting friends and family, to then cut back services is unfathomable. Our night-time economy will also suffer with so many gaps in services in the evenings.”