Anger as raft of train services face the axe under Northern plans

Plans to cut to rail services across the north of England have been met with a furious response.

Train operator Northern will reduce services from Bradford Forster Square to Shipley, Ilkley and Skipton to hourly, according to West Yorkshire’s mayor, Tracy Brabin. Services between Halifax, Bradford Interchange, Leeds and Hull are also set to be withdrawn.

Services from Wakefield to Pontefract and Knottingley are also to be reduced, Yorkshire Live reports. And there will be cuts to peak and evening services on “many” other routes.

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Meanwhile, there are no plans for a direct service between Wakefield and Huddersfield. Rail passengers traveling between the towns – 15 miles apart – must change at Leeds on a journey which takes at least 45 minutes.

Ms Brabin has expressed her anger and frustration over the cuts and said she was seeking an ‘urgent meeting’ with Northern to discuss why they were being made. She 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. “

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