Minister admits Calderdale’s trains “performing poorly” after MP's concerns

Halifax MP Holly Lynch
Halifax MP Holly Lynch

The Government’s Rail Minister has accepted that rail services on the Calder Valley Line are underperforming following concerns raised by Halifax MP Holly Lynch.

In February Ms Lynch wrote to Rail Minister Jo Johnson MP noting her disbelief that one Halifax to Manchester service had been late on all but two occasions in the year.

She claimed that the service, run by the Northern rail company, were causing daily misery for local commuters who arrive on the train from Leeds or travel from Halifax to Manchester.

Mr Johnson has now written a response to Ms Lynch’s letter. The Rail Minister claims that the specific service, which Ms Lynch believes is one of the worst commutes in Yorkshire, has got better saying “prior to 12 February the average lateness at Halifax was 4.5 minutes, and it is now on average 1.8 minutes late into Halifax… Recognising this is not perfect, the punctuality of the service has significantly improved.”

He goes on to say: “Overall, we acknowledge that the service on this route is currently performing poorly. Hence a Calder Valley Working Group has been formed in recent weeks, involving both Northern and Network Rail, which is working through issues and putting positive changes in place.”

Commenting on the response Ms Lynch said: “I’m glad that the Minister has finally accepted that rail services in our area are performing poorly which will be of no surprise to local people using the trains.

“Nationally rail fares went up by an average of 3.4% this year, the largest increase for five years, which makes this performance even more unacceptable.

“The Minister claims that a ‘working group’ has now been set up to look specifically at problems on the Calder Valley line, which is potentially a positive development.

"I’ve now written to Northern Rail requesting more information on this approach and urging them to improve the service for passengers as soon as possible.”