Call for electrification of the Calder Valley line
Friday, 24 August 2018
Plans to press home the campaign for vital improvements to the Calder Valley train line, including electrification, will be discussed by Calderdale Council's Cabinet on Monday 3 September 2018.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council's Leader, said
Reliable and good-quality rail services are absolutely essential for residents and businesses. The underinvestment in the Calder Valley line has gone on for too long and it's having major impacts on local people.
Electrifying the line must remain a priority and we will continue to lobby for this because of the economic, environmental and social benefits it would bring. And, of course, it's a top-ranked recommendation from the Northern Electrification Task Force, based on the scale of the economic impact.
The Calder Valley line links Leeds and Manchester via Hebden Bridge, Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale, plus several other towns in the Upper Calder Valley. It also provides a connection between York and Blackpool and Huddersfield via Brighouse.
Enhancing the line is one of the most important contributors to economic growth in Calderdale. It's vital as part of the Vision2024 for Calderdale to be a distinctive, enterprising, talented and resilient place where people want to live, work, visit and invest.
To strengthen the ongoing work to drive improvements, Cabinet will be asked to:
- Start plans to develop a rail investment strategy and a lobbying strategy to bring forward electrification of the Calder Valley line, working with other councils and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
- Sign up to the Electric Railway Charter 2018, to declare the Council's continued support for the electrification campaign.
- Take into account the recent problems with train timetables, delays and cancellations, which are having huge impacts on people's lives and business productivity, and have caused an estimated loss of £38 million to the Northern Powerhouse on Northern Rail trains alone.
Advantages of electrification
Electrification would improve journey times; make train services more reliable, cheaper to run and less costly for passengers; help cut congestion on the roads; and reduce impacts on the environment through better air quality and fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Calderdale also wants to see faster, more frequent trains; better access for walkers, cyclists and buses; and improved station car parking, especially in the growth area of Brighouse.
This would build on the track and signal investment that is already underway for 2018/19 – including new track at Sowerby Bridge; platform lengthening at Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Walsden; and signal replacement from Pudsey to Hebden Bridge; as well as the commitment to the new station at Elland.
The Cabinet meeting will take place on Monday 3 September from 6pm at Halifax Town Hall.