Report calls for some rail improvements

Nina Smith, secretary of the Upper Calder Valley Rennaisance Sustainable Transport Group outside Hebden Bridge train station.
Nina Smith, secretary of the Upper Calder Valley Rennaisance Sustainable Transport Group outside Hebden Bridge train station.

AN upper Calder Valley group is trying to shape the future of the area’s transport network.

The Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group has sent a report to the Secretary of State and Ministers calling for a number of changes to the current rail franchise, which it believes will be replaced by the end of 2014.

Nina Smith, Hon Secretary of the group, said: “I have much hope that the Department of Transport (DfT) will take everything on board.

“It is very necessary to get a really good railway system in this area to help persuade people to get out of their cars and onto trains in order to reduce carbon omissions and improve road safety.

“It is vital that they get the franchise right. If the next franchise is for 15 years and they get it wrong then we will all suffer.”

The report outlines that the group would prefer to see the DfT trim the current franchises, which are covered by Northern and Trans-Pennine Express, into a single franchise.

It also wants improved capacity at peek times, earlier and later trains, additional through stations, a station at Cornholme - to support the Todmorden Curve, timetable cooperation between bus and rail operators, and disabled access at Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge stations.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said: “I have written to the Minister for Transport and I am fully supporting these proposals.

“There are a whole range of ideas being put forward that to me are absolute common sense.

“Anything that makes travelling conditions in the upper Calder Valley better can only be a good thing.”

The report also calls for increased parking at stations, an improvement to carriages, a better ticketing service - including discounted fares, if the new smart ticketing service is introduced, and more investment in infastructure.

The report should be available to read at www.hbstationfriends.org.uk shortly.