Hang on to your Ticket!

“Delay Repay” is available on Northern if your train is more than 15 minutes late, though the last we heard it still only applies to rail-only tickets not multi-modal passes like the MCard. Hang on to your ticket to claim! We’ve heard of at least one passenger being refused because their used ticket was captured by the station exit gate. Separate proof of purchase and photo of screen showing train cancellation were not accepted. Surely rather harsh, since it’s not always obvious the automatic barrier is about to confiscate your ticket. Gates should always have staff present to help.

 

Header Image: “Leeds Station” flickr photo by OliverN5 https://flickr.com/photos/mtl_shag/4515194671 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

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New Trains Worry

We’ve been seeing lot of aging “Pacers” recently, whilst waiting patiently for the brand new trains promised to be on Calder Valley services this year. The new “Class 195s” have been under test and a problem has been found with couplings. We gather the engineers have a solution but it means further delay. This follows disappointment that the “Class 170” trains from Scotland, second hand but pleasantly modern, are not now likely to be deployed on the Leeds-Brighouse-Manchester route. As far as we know officially the Pacers are still expected to go by the end of this year, and the brand new trains should come our way.

Hell to pay if they don’t arrive! Again, we are pressing Northern for confirmation of intent.

 

Header Image: “A spanking new 195 113” flickr photo by 70023venus2009 https://flickr.com/photos/70023venus2009/40723003743 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

One railway for the North

Could a new “Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway” deliver quality and reliability for 21st Century passengers?

After the timetable shambles a year ago, HADRAG made this argument:

Trans Pennine Express and Northern operate nearly all local and regional trains across the North of England. Each of these companies has its own team of train planners. Each must each bid for timetable slots to nationalised Network Rail, with its own train planning office in Milton Keynes (where knowledge of the needs of Brighouse or Sowerby Bridge may be limited). Three organisations, three timetabling offices, to plan a single network of services. Would it not be better to have one organisation, whether publicly or privately owned, planning service patterns and delivering a timetable that works across our northern sub-nation?

As a group HADRAG does not take a view on “renationalisation” versus continued private-sector involvement in the railway. But it is clear how having so many companies involved in running the railway can lead to inefficiency, increased costs and increased me to get anything done. Surely a devolved system that unites track and trains, and works with regional bodies like Transport for the North instead of distant Whitehall bureaucrats must be more efficient and more effective in delivering decent services for all? As it is, it seems like the whole timetable across the North is built around the need to get a relatively small number of TPE’s customers from North East England to Manchester Airport.

The Rail Review, chaired by Keith Williams, is looking at the whole organisation of British railways. A White Paper is expected in the Autumn.

A railway for the common good

The proposals put to Williams by Paul Salveson’s Rail Reform Group would reintegrate rail opera ons at a regional level. It looks like a middle way between top-down nationalisa on and a flawed franchising model. The aim, star ng in the North, is “a railway for the common good”, with less call on the public purse, less pressure on Government to micro-manage, and higher quality, reliable services supporting economic regeneration of the regions. The brand “Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway” chimes well for those who know a bit of history and see lessons to be learned.

Be quick and have your say!

The Williams Rail Review remains open until 31 May. Anyone can make a submission via the government website. HADRAG contributed early on: see our Spring update.  Feel free to support our views, and/or those of the Rail Reform Group, or just put forward your own.

Williams’s objectives talk about balancing the needs of passengers, taxpayers and wider society (including the environment). We say there should be no conflict. Yes, rail receives a high level of government support and passengers (themselves taxpayers) expect good service. Perhaps getting better value for taxpayers’ money should be about continuing to invest in improvement and turning more taxpayers into passengers.—JSW

Brighouse Woes and Crazy Clockface

The train in our picture takes 34 minutes Halifax-Huddersfield including 4 min standing in Brighouse and another 5 min at the next junction waiting the train coming the other way. Unless there are late changes (there were last December!) this looks to be little improved in the May 2019 timetable, despite some retiming. It seems the railway just can’t get the Brighouse line timetable right. Yet Brighouse has shown the biggest footfall increase of any Calder Valley Line station over ten years. Latest blow is withdrawal of the 0606 from Huddersfield via Halifax to Leeds, scuppering early commutes from Huddersfield/Brighouse to Halifax/Bradford. Halifax- Leeds will have nothing from 0600 until 0645, leaving only 3 trains between 0600 and 0700 compared with a long-established four.

The late evening 2-hour gap in call from Manchester at Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge remains despite an obvious easy fix of adding stops by trains that currently fly through. Good news is a new late-night York-Blackburn train that will provide a later service back from Bradford (2320) for these stations. Hourly York-Halifax-Blackpool through trains are restored (but just Leeds-Blackpool on Sundays).

Our Manchester trains will extend hourly to Chester, also welcome if it works. Halifax’s crazy clockface to Leeds gets worse with departures at about 00, 07, 15 and then nothing till 43 minutes past — four an hour but effectively little better than half-hourly. Some

hours the gap is more than 30 minutes. We are pressing Northern on these issues with another letter to David Brown, Managing Director. We hear there could be interesting, even helpful changes in December.

Another flawed timetable. How can rail run better?

A Manchester-Leeds train sneaks through lush verdure into Halifax. Even commu ng should be a pleasure; there is surely economic value in people arriving for work relaxed a er a pleasant journey. And if it’s for cultural, personal or leisure purposes, your journey should be the part of the a rac on that gets you away from congested, polluted and pollu ng roads. Our Calder Valley Line looks ideal for this. We say give it a go, especially at mes when the trains are not crammed!

But we’ve seen hal ng progress since 2016 under the present Northern franchise. A er the May 2018 shambles this May’s metable is looking at best like another awed and un nished product, trying our pa ence. Hourly trains to Chester are welcome, but Halifax-Leeds travellers face a “crazy clockface” with three trains in 16 minutes then nothing for almost half an hour, a travesty of “15 minute frequency”. Early morning commuters from Hudders eld, Brighouse and Halifax to Bradford and Leeds face a kick in the teeth with withdrawal of the rst Brighouse line train.

The franchise speci es an hourly CVL train to Manchester Airport from December, but this looks to be delayed because of lack of capacity round Manchester. Planned extra pla orms at Manchester Piccadilly seem lost in the long grass of the Department of Transport, whilst TransPennine Express’s franchise commitment to run 2 trains/hr from the North East to Man Airport seems to be a higher priority than Northern’s supposedly equal commitment to more Calder Valley trains including our own Airport service.

HADRAG’s response to the Williams Rail Review calls for a single operator to deliver services across the North that work for all. We con nue to engage with Northern, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Transport for the North and poli cal contacts. And the Electric Railway Charter (www.electriccharter.wordpress.com) con nues to build the argument for a clean, green, modern Calder Valley Line that helps combat the climate emergency. — JSW.

Annual General Meeting

All welcome at HADRAG’s Annual Meeting Saturday morning 1 June 2019, in the Carlton Centre, Carlton Terrace/Harrison Rd, Halifax HX1 2AD (lower ground floor, level access available).  10.15 start (light refreshments from 09.45)

Speaker: Prof. Paul Salveson MBE: “Reforming Rail in the North”

Paul is visiting professor in the Department of Transport and Logistics at Huddersfield University, well known advocate of community rail, and Chair of the Rail Reform Group promoting new approaches including a new “Lancashire & Yorkshire” integrated rail and train operating company.


Formal Agenda

From J Stephen Waring, Chair and Acting Secretary, 6 May 2019

Dear HADRAG members, friends and rail users,

The Annual General Meeting of the Halifax & District Rail Ac on Group will be held on Saturday morning, 1st June, 2019 at The Carlton Centre on Harrison Rd, Halifax HX1 2AD starting at 10.15. Doors open 0945 for light refreshments. Location on details below.

—Stephen
1 (a) Welcome, notice of any urgent business to be added,
AGENDA apologies and Chair’s opening remarks
(b) Speaker ( med business 10.30) Prof Paul Salveson MBE followed by open Q&A

2  Minutes of 2016 AGM ( med business 11.50 approx) NOTE: minutes circulated to members with this newsletter.

3  Matters arising/discussion points from items 1 and 2

4  Reports including (a) Treasurer (b) Membership

5  Election of Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) and Auditor for 2018-19

6  Election of Committee Members (8, including membership secretary) for 2018-19

7  Next year’s AGM — ideas, and when’s best?

8  Announcements/other urgent business of which no ce given at start.

9  Close of meeting by 12.45.

Header Image: “Carlton United Reformed Church” flickr photo by Tim Green aka atoach https://flickr.com/photos/atoach/12160303493 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license