Bid for a Halifax to London railservice every two hours

A PROPOSED £200 million investment in rail services along the West Coast main line could bring more direct London services to Calderdale.

Alliance Rail Holdings expects to learn later this year if regulators will back its plans.

It proposes a new two-hourly service from Bradford to London Euston, calling at Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

That service will compete directly with Grand Central, which is building up passenger numbers following last year’s introduction of its direct Bradford-Halifax-Brighouse London service along the East Coast line into King’s Cross.

Alliance also wants to run services into Euston from Leeds via Stockport, Blackpool and the Cumbrian coast.

Managing director Ian Yeowart – formerly with Grand Central – said passengers would have a 3hr 15min journey into London from Halifax running more frequently and easier access into other centres, including Manchester Victoria and Crewe.

The company’s application is now with the Office of Rail Regulation and Mr Yeowart said Network Rail was supportive.

“It’s about opening up entire West Yorkshire services nationally as well as London,” said Mr Yeowart.

“There is more traffic moving westwards to Manchester and beyond and this is the next evolutionary step.

“We are looking to supplement what is there. Competition is good.”

Grand Central managing director Tom Clift said he was not unduly worried.

His company would be formulating its response as part of the industry consultation process which follows such an application – which are not guaranteed success.

“The history of applications like this are littered with more failures than acceptances,” he said.