Invest more in our trains, pleads Menston and Burley MP Philip Davies

A train on the Wharfedale Line

A train on the Wharfedale Line

First published in News Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by

Extra capacity and longer trains are needed on the Wharfedale and Airedale lines, the Government has been told.

Shipley MP Philip Davies, whose constituency include Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale, said the lines, which connect Bradford with Ilkley and Skipton, were two of the most congested in the country.

Speaking during Transport Questions in the Commons, he asked Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin what was being done to provide “better trains and longer trains on those lines.”

Mr Davies said: “Northern Rail has some of the worst rolling stock in the country on its line and I hope it is something that Government will address.

“Airedale and Wharfedale lines are some of the most congested rail lines on the railway network and need extra capacity.”

Mr McLoughlin said there was significant investment in rolling stock and demand for more.

He said: “We are embarking on a new round of spending on the railways of £38.5 billion by Network Rail, plus the investment we are doing on rolling stock as well.

“There is a huge amount of investment and new rolling stock we are seeing coming on to our railways and I hope Mr Davies will not have the frustration he is having in the longer term.”

Mr Davies is opposing the High Speed Rail Line connecting London and the North and believes the money would be better spent on improving local transport.

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We welcome Mr Davies’ support for more modern trains for the north of England. With the biggest investment in railway infrastructure across the north since Victorian times, it is vital that a national rolling stock strategy delivers the trains to compliment this.”

The Wharfedale line connects Bradford Forster Square and Leeds with Ilkley, while the Airedale route links Leeds and Bradford to Skipton, running via Keighley.

The problem of overcrowding on the two routes has been a long-standing issue and has been raised on a regular basis by rail users’ groups in the district and politicians.

The popularity of the two lines has increased over the last decade following the introduction of electrified Class 333 trains but this has led to rush-hour passengers scrambling for seats on trains and car parking spaces at stations.

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