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Calderdale Council Leader complains to Northern Rail

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Leader of Calderdale Council has written to Northern Rail to express his grave concerns about the Calder Valley service following the introduction of the new timetable on 20 May 2018.

In an open letter to Managing Director David Brown, Cllr Tim Swift argues that the level of delays and cancellations on the Calder Valley line mean that ‘rail is no longer a reliable means of travel’.  

Figures show that in the first three days of the new timetable, between 7am and 7pm on the Calder Valley line:

  • 25 services were cancelled
  • Over a third of services (36%) were delayed by three minutes or more

Visitors to the Piece Hall for the Father John Misty concert over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend were caught up in the disruption after a large number of train services were cancelled and the replacement bus service was cancelled, potentially leaving hundreds stranded in Halifax.

Whilst the earlier timetable changes have caused major disruption for commuters travelling to and from the borough, the introduction of the new temporary timetable on Monday 4 June is having an even greater impact, particularly on services to Todmorden. 

Cllr Tim Swift said, "The recent failure of Northern to deliver and maintain services against its franchise agreement, and to communicate properly with the public, is unacceptable and they must be held to account.  

"I have asked Northern for an urgent response and reassurance that our concerns will be recognised and that we will see an immediate return to a reliable service on the Calder Valley line. The service which Calderdale has received since the introduction of the new timetable is simply not good enough. 

“We have major employers in the borough, including Nestles International, Covea Insurance and SSP which have their global headquarters in Halifax.  The Lloyds Banking Group is also located here.  Our businesses and our residents rely on these vital connections with the major towns and cities across the North, including Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.

“It’s extremely disappointing, particularly given how relentlessly we have been working to bring key improvements to the rail network through Calderdale.”