The Stalybridge to Huddersfield Rail Group have met with officials from both Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Transport Authorities in their quest for an improved rail service along the Huddersfield to Manchester line post the electrification in 2018.
The group have cross party support from Councillors; 3 local M.Ps whose areas include the line and from the Chair of the European Parliament Transport Committee, an M.E.P. whose constituency is in the Northwest of England.
The group were told they should be clear about what they wanted once electrification is completed in 2018. Currently interim plans by the transport authorities include all trains going to Piccadilly rather than Victoria during the period 2016-18 when work along the line for electrification will be most disruptive. The group say the concentration of shopping in Manchester, for instance, is nearer to Victoria and this plan is wrong. A recent poll of passengers from Greenfield supported this view with over 400 signing a petition collected in little over a fortnight.
The group also indicated they wanted the current peak hour services maintained; an half-hourly service all day and better weekend and evening services. They concede that with half-hourly services ideally one train could go to Piccadilly and one to Victoria giving passengers a choice. Lastly the group are working on a timetable which could see two per hour services evenly spaced at half-hourly intervals.
Mark Ashmore Chair of the Group and resident of Greenfield said: ‘We had a most amicable meeting where the Transport Authorities clearly indicated they wanted to work with us to improve the service in a way which was consistent with passengers’ views. It has been agreed we shall meet with them again in June.’