Calderdale train timetable changes made after complaints over winter services

Sowerby Bridge train station
Sowerby Bridge train station

Complaints about reduced services to two Calderdale stations has led to some timetable tweaks, a transport board heard.

Members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Transport Working Party raised the issue of the timetable due to come on stream in December which had shown lower numbers of services stopping at Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

Northern Stakeholder Manager Pete Myers said the company was aware there were some controversial proposals.

He explained problems had arisen about likely congestion around a Bradford to Manchester Airport service and some Brighouse services were changing too.

So an interim timetable had been put in place which gave a better spread of trains, said Mr Myers.

However, two stations which would be seeing fewer trains than currently were Mythomroyd and Sowerby Bridge.

The reason for this was around three years ago there were requests to put on extra services for those stations and Northern had taken a “hit” operationally since, he said.

Stephen Waring of Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG) had raised the issue and Northern had managed to introduce some more trains to the timetable.

“Sowerby Bridge particularly will see three extra trains in peak hours in the mornings and evenings,” he said.

Mr Myers said he had spoken to planners on the morning of the board meeting and was in no doubt they would accept the proposals.

Nina Smith, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Group for Upper Valley Renaissance, asked if future planning would allow for two trains an hour, at least from Sowerby Bridge.

She also raised an issue of upper Calder Valley commuters trying to get to Huddersfield, which at the moment was a “diabolical” commute with an easier route being via Dewsbury but the fare between Hebden Bridge and Huddersfield, for example, only valid via Brighouse and Bradford.

“Can the meeting endorse sustainable transport for ticketing for passengers who have to go via Dewsbury?” she said.

Mr Waring supported her comments and pointed out Sowerby Bridge served a population potentially as big as Hebden Bridge and Todmorden combined but had a much smaller service.

This had to be considered in Transport for the North planning and he hoped to see developments beyond December, he said.

Mr Waring also raised issues of Sunday services at Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge – it was good news the York to Blackpool service would be stopping but not good news that Leeds to Manchester trains were not.

Mr Myers said these services were affected by staffing issues in a situation that was ongoing with North West based staff, and on Sundays half the service’s transport came from that end of the line.

He would take on board the comments made about those travelling to Huddersfield.