A senior councillor has accused TransPennine Express of “abandoning” Huddersfield and Dewsbury and leaving holes in a vital rail service for students.
Greenhead College students, many of whom study in Huddersfield but live in North Kirklees, have to wait for around an hour for a train to take them home on a night.
Clr Manisha Kaushik, deputy chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, has slammed rail operator TransPennine Express for leaving huge gaps between services running between Dewsbury and Huddersfield, saying the operator only informed the public at the last minute.
Clr Kaushik is calling on the operator to reinstate more regular services between the two stations.
Among the changes is a gap between 3.49pm and 4.46pm, during which time there is not a single service from Huddersfield to Dewsbury.
Clr Kaushik said: “I am flabbergasted at how the new timetable includes hour-long gaps on one of the region’s main local rail routes. This is a completely unacceptable abandonment of the two biggest towns in our region.
“This will particularly impact students travelling home to Dewsbury from Greenhead College in Huddersfield. How can we expect young people to make good choices about further education while asking them to sacrifice their evenings waiting in a train station?
“To add insult to injury, we were only informed of these changes by TransPennine at the last minute.
“Everyone can now see the results of the Government’s chaotic approach to rail services, so we have taken matters into our own hands and requested a meeting with the operator to thrash out a solution. We need an accountable and simpler rail system.”
The issue was first raised in December by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for town centres, Clr Eric Firth.
At the time a spokesman for TransPennine Express said: “The rail industry makes amendments to its timetables twice a year, in May and December, to try to deliver the best possible travel options for customers.
“The process is extremely complex, particularly in areas with several operators, and, sadly, it is sometimes necessary to remove some services to enable others to run.
“We run regular consultations regarding potential changes and seek to gather feedback from stakeholders.
“It’s regrettable that the services between Dewsbury and Huddersfield have been such a cause for concern and we welcome the opportunity to discuss these with stakeholders in the local area and to try to identify potential solutions.”