MP urges government to tackle ‘commuter crush’

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on the Government to take action to ease the ‘commuter crush’ on overcrowded trains to Leeds and Manchester.

During questions to the Department for Transport in the House of Commons, Ms Lynch claimed that commuters are facing a crush during their morning commute and that improvements to rail travel were essential for delivering the Northern Powerhouse.

This follows claims by HADRAG (Halifax and District Rail Action Group) that the number of carriages on commuter trains have been cut. In its newsletter the group highlight the problem of reduced capacity, saying: “Commuter trains at 7.20am and 7.34am from Halifax have been cut from four carriages to two. The 7.34am now sees intolerable crush-loading between Bradford and Leeds, as does the following 7.49am from Halifax.”

Transport Minister Paul Maynard MP accepted that the situation needed to improve.

He said: “I recognise that we have a number of issues with trains arriving in Manchester and Leeds with passengers standing because of issues with capacity.

“That needs to change, which is why in the new northern franchise we have ensured that the pacers will be removed, and we are investing in new carriages that will mean more seats for passengers. We are also investing specifically in the Caldervale line.”

But Ms Lynch fears commuters face years of misery until new carriages are delivered. Speaking to The Courier she said: “While it is welcome that extra investment in new carriages is coming by 2019, commuters cannot be expected to endure severely overcrowded trains for the next three years.

“I have written to Northern, and will continue to call for government action, in order to solve this overcrowding which is leading to misery for commuters.”

Commuter Joshua Fenton-Glynn sent in a photo of the crush in an overcrowded carriage between Hebden Bridge and Manchester.

The Labour councillor for Calder ward said: “Calderdale has around 30,000 people who commute out of the borough for work.

“A reliable train service should be key to our prosperity.

“As a regular commuter myself I’m disappointed that Northern Rail regularly fall below the standards we have the right to expect.”

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