Rail journey times ‘no better than in the early 80s’, report claims

A report into the state of rail services in West Yorkshire has claimed journey times on some routes were “no better than in the early 1980s”, despite significant investment.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 5:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 5:13 pm
Some rail services in West Yorkshire are as slow as the early 1980s, a report has claimed.

The report from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) said while improvements have been made since the May 2018 timetable crisis, it was still “disappointed” with the standard of service provided to rail travellers in the region.

Service frequency on Harrogate, Calder Valley and Wakefield had not yet reached required levels, while evening and Sunday services on some lines were still not up to scratch.

The report added that it expected to see “significant alterations” to take place when a reviewed timetable is introduced in May.

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It stated: “The May 2019 timetable change can be seen on Northern as an incremental step towards delivering the improvements planned for December 2017 and December 2019. While they represent significant progress, shortfalls remain.

“In general, these ‘gaps’ are in line with expectations given the known infrastructure constraints especially around Leeds and Manchester, though others, such as in evening or Sunday services as well as first and last trains, are disappointing.

“Also disappointing is that improvements to journey times

have yet to be delivered on several routes; notably, on the Calder Valley Network Rail has recently invested around £150m and delivered significant line speed improvements, despite which some journey times are no faster than they were in the early 1980s.

“WYCA is continuing to bring pressure to bear to maximise what can be delivered on current infrastructure, to understand what further measures are required to deliver these services in full – and to obtain a commitment to carrying these out.”