Action pledge on our station

RAIL bosses have pledged to sort out Halifax station – but have given no promises when work will start.

Officials from Network Rail, who own the station, and Northern Rail, who manage the site, visited the dilapidated station as part of the Courier campaign and agreed it needed a makeover.

But they said they could not give a firm timetable for when the much-needed changes would take place.

They also gave no details of what would be done and could not even give a timescale for installing a toilet.

Halifax MP Linda Riordan, who has backed our Action Station campaign, met Phil Bustard, from Network Rail, and Malcolm Brown and Mark Norman, from Northern Rail, and took the three on a tour of the rundown station.

The Courier began the campaign last month after a damning report.

It has been backed by tourism bosses, business and shop owners and commuters, who all want to see our scruffy station brought up to scratch.

Mrs Riordan said she was impressed by the companies' support. They agreed to set up a working party with her.

"We discussed what we are hoping to do in the near future," she said. "And when I say near future, I mean we need something doing now. I don't want it going on for years."

Mrs Riordan's visitors promised the two firms would work together to pay for improvements.

The rail chiefs admitted the site, which has no public toilets, a litter problem, a platform canopy held up by scaffolding and a cramped, cold waiting room, lacked proper facilities.

Mr Brown, of Northern Rail, said the improvements would be loosely divided into short and long-term improvements.

He said: "In the next two to five years we are talking about tender loving care, painting and a general clean-up."

Longer issues include a new waiting room and repairs to the canopy.

He said both companies were relatively new and had been forced to concentrate on getting trains on time.

Mr Bustard said: "There were more pressing issues before. A nice station is great but not if the train is not there."

But he said the time was right to turn their attention to Halifax station, which has seen a rise in the number of passengers travelling both to and from it. There were 1.2 million journeys made last year.

Mr Norman, buildings engineer for Northern Rail, said the companies would not be demolishing the station, as suggested by the Halifax and District Railway Action Group.

"Halifax station is of an age. We want to retain the heritage of the railway and Halifax and work with what we have already got."

But he said radical changes would not happen overnight.


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