Northern Rail should confirm it is not planning to close Walsden

After receiving details of the proposed new timetables from Walsden Rail Action Group (WRAG) we strongly felt we had to write to protest.

We are appalled that the only way we have found out about these changes is through WRAG rather than a public announcement, and that it was only by chance they found out.

As time for consultation is short we wish to comment as follows.

We understand recorded passenger numbers from Walsden have decreased in recent years, but there are undeniable reasons why this has happened.

Guards rarely collect fares from Walsden passengers, travelling in either direction, resulting in many “free” journeys. In fact, we have on numerous occasions had to queue at Manchester and Leeds to purchase tickets, and on shorter journeys have not been able to pay at all, or obtain a return ticket. This problem could be solved to a large extent by a ticket machine on Walsden Station.

We estimate anything up to 50 per cent of journeys from Walsden are unrecorded.

Fares into Greater Manchester, particularly Victoria Station, are disproportionately high. Because fares are so much lower from Littleborough and include the tram, many people drive to Littleborough to catch the train, which defeats the purpose of public transport. Ludicrously, a standard day return fare from Walsden to Marsden (which requires a change at Manchester, and is double the journey) is cheaper than the return fare just to Manchester Victoria.

The West Yorkshire timetables do not display all the peak time stops in Greater Manchester of the Manchester to Leeds via Bradford service. We have friends and family who travel to Mills Hill, and it can be awkward finding out the times of trains which stop there.

Many Walsden commuters work in either Halifax or Bradford, as well as Leeds or Manchester, and would be greatly inconvenienced by the proposed changes.

Halifax is the town where administration for Calderdale is based. To stop direct trains to Halifax stopping at Walsden would disenfranchise residents. The service Walsden receives is already poor, and these proposals, if implemented, would be catastrophic.

We think that Northern Rail should now make a public statement confirming that it is not its intention to bring about the closure of Walsden Station, because that would be the eventual result of these proposals.

Mrs Lynnette Joyce

Secretary, Clough Residents Action Group (CRAG)