Revised track plan to impact commuters

Brighouse train station.
Brighouse train station.

Campaigners are calling for promises to be kept over the improvements of the railways through Brighouse.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin confirmed work is restarting to electrify the Trans-Pennine route connecting York to Manchester via Leeds and the Midland Mainline between Leeds and London.

But, Mr McLoughlin moved to temper expectations that other routes would be next in line for investment.

Campaigners in HADRAG, Halifax & District Rail Action Group, are concerned about progress with other projects benefiting the Calder Valley Line and calls for action to get promised speed and capacity improvements back on track ahead of electrification.

Stephen Waring explained: “It’s good that Huddersfield Line electrification is once again being planned, but this scheme that was originally to have been done before 2019 will not now be finished until the early 2020s.

“We sincerely hope the extra time will be used to build in extra capacity, restoring a four track railway between Huddersfield and near Dewsbury that could also benefit services that run through Brighouse.

“Meanwhile it’s even more vital we get the promised enhancements on the Manchester-Halifax-Bradford route. Both higher speeds to get journey times down and enhanced signalling to allow more frequent trains. “

HADRAG also wants Huddersfield Line electrification to build in more capacity on the lines between Dewsbury and Huddersfield through Mirfield. This route originally had four tracks but is now mainly reduced to two. Restoration of a four track railway could also benefit Calder Valley services that run through Brighouse, potentially the fastest route from Calderdale to Leeds.

Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group Nina Smith said As well as better train sets, both faster trains services and the opportunity to have a more intensive service serving more destinations are needed.

“Our research at Hebden Bridge last year showed a big demand for later evening services from Leeds and Manchester, earlier and more intensive Sunday services, and a direct service from the upper valley to Huddersfield.

“Electrification of all the lines would enable a circular service from Manchester Victoria via Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Huddersfield, and Stalybridge to start by 2024, thus opening up a raft of new direct train travel opportunities.”