Rail users in Leeds face longer journey times after introduction of new timetables

Hundreds of rail users in Leeds are facing up to the prospect of longer journey times following the introduction of new train schedules this weekend.

Transport bosses warned last month that the revised timetables would mean the withdrawal of direct services between stations in east Leeds and places including Bradford and Halifax.

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Now it has been confirmed that the stations affected by the new schedules – being introduced by train operator Northern – include Micklefield, Cross Gates, East Garforth and Garforth.

And, as passengers travelling between those four stations and Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford, Halifax and beyond will start having to change at Leeds, around 20 minutes will be added to each journey they make.

Coun Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee, said: “Losing these direct journeys, which are made by hundreds of people every day, represents a real backward step for local rail services at a time when we are working to develop better public transport links that reduce congestion and support our local economy.

“I am sure this inconvenience will come as a surprise to many regular travellers who will find over three hours added to their weekly journey times as they have to catch four trains each day instead of two.”

The withdrawal of the direct services forms part of a wider timetables shake-up that Northern says is designed to improve reliability.

Steve Hopkinson, the operator’s regional director, said the schedules would allow “plenty of time” at stations where changes were necessary.

Northern came under fire from MPs earlier this week over the botched implementation of another set of timetables in May.