Platforms on Leeds lines will be too short for new trains

A Northern Rail pacer train.
A Northern Rail pacer train.
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PLATFORMS on two of the region’s busiest commuter routes are not long enough to accommodate new trains due to be introduced next year, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

Though some platforms on the Wharfedale and Airedale lines will be extended, rail chiefs have confirmed that there will be “selective door opening” on the trains concerned – and that journey times could take longer.

However rail campaigners fear safety will be put at risk unless stations on the lines from Leeds to Ilkley and Skipton can accommodate the new six carriage services in full.

Reverend Tim Calow, chair of the Aire Valley Rail Users Group, also says rush-hour trains are so overcrowded that passengers will struggle to walk through the train to a carriage where they can get off safely. “Apart from Leeds, Keighley, Skipton and Ilkley stations the platforms are too short for the trains,” he said.

“This is clear evidence of the North-South divide in transport investment. Platform extensions are essential for longer trains in the South-East. However they are too expensive for Yorkshire.

“Unless the situation is rectified we will continue to suffer from inferior train services.” 
Northern Rail confirmed some station improvements will be prioritised this year – but did not provide any specific details. “At stations where the train is longer than the platform, we are aiming to operate selective door opening, a safe operation that is common place across the UK,” said a spokesman.

Meanwhile Network Rail confirmed that there might be “a slight increase in the time it takes for people to enter and exit the train”. She denied the assertion from the Aire Valley Rail Users Group that funding was an issue.