The new weekday timetable started on December 12th. Hourly Bradford-Huddersfield and Halifax-Hull trains restored. But on the first day one in four of the latter was cancelled. On the second day we were into a week, of strikes. This is not the place to discuss the rights and wrongs of industrial action; HADRAG has never done that – but it’s not just workers in the rail industry who are angry is it? Friday 16th trip to York by bus (change at Leeds, 3½ hour journey). Sunday 18th, not a strike day, two HADRAG members travelled back from York – but no Northern trains at all on the Calder Valley line (much-maligned TransPennine Express to the rescue). Same six days later on Christmas Eve – no CV line service. (Genuine staffing problems, corporate tantrum or government edict?) Apart from that, Week 2 of the timetable had gone reasonably well.
In November we had a successful second HADRAG general meeting of the year. We thank Cllr Colin Hutchinson, one of Calderdale’s representatives on West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee who gave us cause to be hopeful about the forthcoming rail strategy. We really do hope that WYCA’s proposals will meet at least some of our aspirations. The present Calder Valley service may be back to “normal” – but normal is far from adequate considering the potential of stations like Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse and future Elland, each serving a population matching valley Hebden Bridge and Todmorden combined. Mytholmroyd also needs more trains. Walsden only has hourly trains off peak. Reliability needs improving (though Northern does a lot better than TPE). HADRAG’s aspirations paper at this link: Ideas for Calder Valley service upgrades: HADRAG updates after meeting – Halifax and District Rail Action Group .
We have been assured Elland should be open by 2025 though there remains a concern that work on the TransPennine Route Upgrade could be a spanner in the works. We shall keep pressing for progress. 2025 will be 25 years late but nonetheless welcome.
There may be a fight on for vital ticket offices, and for guards on trains.
HADRAG’s committee will be considering future meeting patterns. We need to talk about Halifax station ideas early in 2023. Then later in the spring discussion of the West Yorkshire rail strategy could follow. We need more members to get involved.
Please send feedback on this newsletter. Wishing you a continuing happy Christmas (well under way by time you read this) and…
… a peaceful, hopeful ride into 2023! – JSW
Header Image: “frosty morning on the train tracks” flickr photo by TriggerHappyDave https://flickr.com/photos/fromthefrontend/5220598904 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license