Rail travel halted for 39 weeks per year from 2020
“My initial concern is that the inevitably extensive construction work in the Colne Valley will hit our services and disrupt the wider community.
“It is my hope, however, that we will see every effort being made to schedule work so that this stretch is closed for the minimum period of time whilst trains by-pass our stations.
“Potentially, the upgrade is positive, if it delivers a modern railway providing improved capacity, frequency and reliability.
“This must deliver these benefits for passengers from Huddersfield, Slaithwaite and Marsden, rather than being exclusively focused on passengers travelling between Manchester and Leeds.”
Colne Valley councillor, Rob Walker, who is also chairman of the Slaithwaite and Marsden Action on Rail Transport (SMART) group, said he had seen the letter and believed rail operators would be forced to use the Calder Valley route during the significant portions of the upgrade project. “We could end up with no service at all,” he warned.
“In the long term this will bring real benefits but in the short term it could cause a lot of grief because of the scale of building work taking place. “We would hope they would do some proper consultation with local politicians, and more importantly with the wider community, before anything is decided.
“What I worry about is because we are on the fringes of Leeds and Manchester, when decisions are made the emphasis is on the passengers from the big cities and not enough consideration is given to us.
“It’s clear from the May timetable scandal that people from Slaithwaite and Marsden have probably suffered more than anybody else.
“We’ve already been let down in terms of what was promised.
“I’ve seen people in tears on the platforms when their trains don’t turn up.
“We’ve heard of people getting their wages docked £20 every time they’re late.
“It’s vital we get more people on trains and less in cars, but at the moment it’s going the other way.”