A campaign group is to fight for more services for Brighouse railway station after saying that proposed improvements on offer for commuters are ‘an insult’.
Under two new franchises being delivered by Arriva and FirstGroup, £1.2 billion will be invested in trains across the North of England, stations and smart ticketing.
However, The Halifax and District Rail Action Group has said they are disappointed at how little is proposed for the Brighouse Line, despite a huge boom in the number of passengers using the station.
Statistics from the Office of Road and Rail published in December 2015 shows that passenger numbers have grown from 87,073 in 2006/2007 to 384,922 in 2014/15.
“Brighouse tops the table for passenger growth at Calder Valley Line stations,” said HADRAG chair Stephen Waring in the group’s winter newsletter.
“Brighouse has been spectacular with 342 per cent growth since 2006-7 which we make 20 per cent per year on average (compoud). We think this should be a hint that Brighouse could attract even more car users to the train if only the service could be improved further.”
The station will also not be incorporated in the “Northern Connect” scheme.
Northern Connect stations should have staff presence from 6am and 10pm every day, plus catering facilities and Wi-Fi.
“We don’t blame Arriva for this but we want more to be done,” he said.
By 2019, there will be five trains an hour between upper Calderdale and Leeds, and also five trains an hour between Halifax and Leeds.
There will be earlier trains on the Halifax/Huddersfield Line through Brighouse and more evening services are promised.
Brighouse also benefits by an increase in Sunday trains – frequency on the roundabout Leeds/Bradford-Halifax-Huddersfield route will go from a two-hourly to a hourly one by December 2017.
“A big disappointment is that the ManchesterRochdale-Brighouse-Leeds ‘valley bottom’ service is unlikely to have its operation extended to Sundays,” said Mr Waring.
“We said this would have been great for leisure travel along the length of Calderdale. Nor is it clear that this service will run any later in the evenings so it could be much as it is now – daytime Monday to Saturday only.
“Given the above, Brighouse train users (actual and potential) could take what’s on offer as something of an insult.
“Of five trains an hour between upper Calderdale and Leeds, four will go via Bradford, only one via Brighouse.
“We want to see Network Rail reinstate four tracks in this area – valuable infrastructure that was ripped out years ago.
“We hope this might be done as part of the Huddersfield line electrification scheme (now predicted to be completed by 2022) and that might allow more trains through Brighouse.
“It could allow an upper Calderdale-Huddersfield service for which there is surely demand.
“Meanwhile, HADRAG will continue to demand a better deal for Brighouse.
“Arriva and Network Rail have to go through a timetable planning process. There is certainly something to play for. As a minimum we believe journey times to Manchester could be improved by running the Brighouse trains semi fast beyond Todmorden.”