Half-hourly light at the end of the tunnel for rail campaigners

Campaigners from the Slaithwaite and Marsden Action on Rail Transport (SMART) who have been campaigning for 10 years for a half-hourly train service in Slaithwaite and Marsden say that a new consultation paper could finally bring their battle to an end.

On January 14th.  The Department for Transport (DfT) published the ‘Manchester Recovery Task Force Consultation’ which aims to rectify the issues caused by timetable changes from May 2018. These changes brought widespread delays and cancellations across our area as well as much of the North of England.

The consultation paper published by DfT provides three different options. SMART argues that Option C produces greater benefits to more of the stations on routes radiating from Manchester, including Marsden and Slaithwaite, than the other two options. This option would also provide Slaithwaite and Marsden with 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.

Councillor Rob Walker, Chair of SMART, said: “As we hopefully emerge from the  Covid-19 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.”  

He added “We at last have excellent trains with plenty of seats; 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 performancerecoverytaskforce@dft.gov.uk before the deadline of March 10th 2021.

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