By Andy Hirst, Special Correspondent
The Colne Valley has the chance for a half-hourly train service at Marsden and Slaithwaite railway stations but needs community support to make it happen.
The Department of Transport is looking at three options to improve train services on the line and one of them would mean trains stopping every 30 minutes during the day at Slaithwaite and Marsden for passengers wanting to go to Huddersfield or Manchester.
People living in the Colne Valley are urged to give their support to this option during a public consultation … but the deadline to do so is March 10.
Slaithwaite and Marsden Action on Rail Transport (SMART) has been campaigning for an all-day half-hourly service at Marsden and Slaithwaite for more than 10 years.
The group says that although there has recently been a big improvement in the quality of trains on the Transpennine line, their frequency has remained at just one per hour outside the morning and evening weekday peak periods.
The Department for Transport published the Manchester Recovery Task Force Consultation in mid-January which aims to undo much of the chaos caused by the disastrous May 2018 timetable change that so badly affected local train services and those across the whole of the north of England.
The consultation paper presents three options A, B and C.
SMART says option A is likely to produce the least increase in punctuality and resilience across the rail network while option C is projected to produce the greatest increase and provide most benefits to more of the stations on routes radiating from Manchester, including Marsden and Slaithwaite, than the other two options.
Option C would give Slaithwaite and Marsden a half-hourly service throughout the day to Manchester and Huddersfield and an hourly train to Leeds. This would be achieved by having the current Manchester to Hull train stopping at Slaithwaite and Marsden throughout the day.
SMART chairman Clr Rob Walker said: “As we hopefully emerge from the Covid pandemic we do not want to see even worse traffic congestion in our villages and towns. We want to encourage people to use train services again.
“SMART believes that a half-hourly service is vital in convincing people that rail travel is the best option. At the moment, if you narrowly miss a train it can be nearly an hour’s wait. We at last have excellent trains with plenty of seats so all we need now are regular and reliable services.
“With business developments like the Globe Mill in Slaithwaite and the growth in leisure visitors to the Colne Valley, we want to see more people travelling by train into our area as well as commuting from it to work.”
The full 35 page report that contains all the consultation questions can be read here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951401/manchester-recovery-task-force-public-consultation.pdf
Consultation responses should be sent to email@example.com by March 10 at the latest.
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content Andy Hirst who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR https://ah-pr.com/ specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.