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Passenger watchdog and MP demand action on Aire Valley and Wharfedale routes

Train shortages on lines in the district are causing some of the worst passenger overcrowding in the country, it is claimed.

Rail watchdogs say the Government must invest “significant” money into providing more trains and carriages and lengthening platforms.

Network Rail, which is responsible for the rail infrastructure, has drawn up plans to deal with a huge increase in rail users, especially on the Airedale and Wharfedale routes.

But Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail User Group, said it was “far from clear” where the money was going to come from.

Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies said: “This is a problem which is getting worse. The number of people using the trains locally is going through the roof and they have not got the additional capacity to cope.

“The Wharfedale and Airedale lines are among the most overcrowded in the country.”

Mr Calow said the worst overcrowding was on trains from Skipton on the Airedale line and Ilkley on the Wharfedale line.

On the daily 5.26pm train from Leeds to Skipton, for example, around 550 people are trying to cram into just 350 seats, leaving an average of 50 people per coach standing.

Those affected by the overcrowding include parents whose children travel from Baildon to school in Guiseley.

Northern Rail had temporarily increased the number of carriages on trains running at peak times but the number of carriages was reduced when the school term started.

Peter Johnson, chairman of the Wharfedale Rail User Group, said members were aware of overcrowding between Baildon, Guiseley and Ilkley. He said: “This is a symptom of the wider problem which has been going on for some time.

“The solution to that problem rests firmly at the door of the Department for Transport. We are still waiting to see what they will do.”

A DfT spokesman said: “We are involved in detailed commercial negotiations to deliver additional trains for the busiest services in the North of England, including the Leeds-Bradford and Leeds-llkley routes. We hope to make an announcement about this in due course.”

Your Say YourBradford

Daniel Calvert, Guiseley says...
11:18am Mon 8 Feb 10

The EASY way to reduce train congestion during present peak hours, is to lengthen the peak hours from 07-00 to 19-00, which I put to Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive, Northern Rail, York over two years ago, her reply, I should take the matter up with local Chambers of Trade. It was "HER" trains that were congested, not for me, being retired & 78yrs, it was by commuters experiencing the congestion problems

2007, January 24th, The Office of Railregulator told "Metro" newspaper,
"CROWDED TRAINS ARE SAFER if involved in a train crash" I have a copy of this "stupid" report in front of me as I type this "comment".

People going "early" would return home "early" & be able to enjoy family, from late afternoon.

People going "late" would return "late" & be able to socialise after work, & stay in bed later than now to recover from the "hangover".

There ARE no extra carriages as in the old days, when I was on "steam" locos, based at Low Moor, "new carriages have to ordered, built, then delivered, which takes years, not weeks to bring into service.

ItchyBungle, Bradford says...
12:47pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Unfotunately this issue is not confined just to our region, it is widespread throughout the country. It is difficult to know exactly what the truth is about rail travel because we keep hearing about overcrowding and the trains needing to be made longer on one hand and we hear that the numbers of people traveling by train is in constant decline.
The government and public transport companies constantly tell us that we should use public transport more and leave our cars at home. The reailty of the situation is that if just 20% of the population who currently do not use public transport were to wake up on a Monday morning and suddenly decide to act upon that advice the system would collapse because there has been chronic under-investment in the public transport network for decades. This is made worse with privatisation where companies appear to be more bothered about shareholders than their passengers.
The solution here is much more investment is needed - but not from the paying public who are already being mugged by the public transport companies - from the public transport companies who recieve subsidies from central government and a percentage of council tax to run their services. They constantly put their fares up telling us it is to improve the service, so now they should use that money to do what they have promised, rather than companies like Northern Rail using £250k to install 5 barriers at the Interchange!!!!

Rambo, bradford says...
1:46pm Mon 8 Feb 10

ItchyBungle hits the nail on the head, particularly in the last paragraph and the comments on fares and the barriers in the Interchange.
As someone who uses the Airedale line everyday, I know first hand how bad the service can be, espeically in relation to the prices and the above inflation increases every year - e.g. Saltaire to Leeds off peak went up from £3.00 to £3.40 this year.
And god help you if they have to put one of those 2 carriage mechanical abortions from the 70s on during rush hour.

Up with the partridge, Norwich says...
7:25pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Train overcrowding is a national scandal. Drive a motorbike without a crash helmet - get a fine. Ride in a car without a seatbelt - get a fine. Because government says it's not safe. Cram as many people as possible into a train and that's ok. How the hell do these people get away with it? Can you imaging buying a theatre ticket and being told that there are no seats? Or, boarding a plane and finding the same (although with Ryanair's dirty seats this might be a benefit.
It's time that this country had some civil disobedience and we all stopped being pushed around

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Passengers on the platform at Forster Square station in Bradford getting off a train Passengers on the platform at Forster Square station in Bradford getting off a train

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