Leaders in Calderdale are taking a defiant stand as they look to join forces with other authorites to demand that rail electrification of the Calder Valley line is made a top priority.
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Plans to press home the campaign for vital improvements to the Calder Valley train line, including electrification, will be discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday.
Councillor Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “Reliable and good-quality rail services are absolutely essential for residents and businesses. The underinvestment in the Calder Valley line has gone on for too long and it’s having major impacts on local people.
“Electrifying the line must remain a priority and we will continue to lobby for this because of the economic, environmental and social benefits it would bring.
“We certainly hope this will have cross party support. We want to use this as a platform to revisit some of the work that was done with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to make sure this is one of their priorities but also work with the other Lancashire and Manchester authorities on the line who have been supportive in the past.”
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The Calder Valley line links Leeds and Manchester via Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale, plus several other towns in the Upper Calder Valley. It also provides a connection between York and Blackpool and Huddersfield via Brighouse.
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Coun Barry Collins, deputy leader of the council, highlighted that the Northern Electrification Task Force ranked the Calder Valley line as the number one priority for electrification only a few years ago.
“Frankly our view is there have been far too many promises and far too little delivery around this issue for us,” he said.
“This is our time to push our case forward again and also to do that through the WYCA. We need all the support of the authorities rather than just lobbying on our own. We are hoping to get support from everyone.”
To strengthen the ongoing work to drive improvements, Cabinet will be asked to:
Start plans to develop a rail investment strategy and a lobbying strategy to bring forward electrification of the Calder Valley line, working with other councils and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Sign up to the Electric Railway Charter 2018, to declare the Council’s continued support for the electrification campaign.
Take into account the recent problems with train timetables, delays and cancellations, which are having huge impacts on people’s lives and business productivity, and have caused an estimated loss of £38 million to the Northern Powerhouse on Northern Rail trains alone.