Response to the December 2019 timetable changes

Rail passengers across the North are facing additional cancellations across the rail network following the introduction of the December timetable changes, which were designed to transform services.

Responding to the timetable changes, Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:

“It is deeply disappointing that passengers across the North are facing additional cancellations across the rail network following the introduction of the December timetable changes, which were designed to transform services.

“Passengers should not need to choose between the services they were promised and a reliable timetable but that is effectively what is happening on our rail network given TransPennine Express’s decision to remove services to reduce short-notice cancellations. 

“The latest rail timetable change leaves a number of promised service improvements undelivered, including no direct links from Calder Valley (through Bradford and Halifax) to Manchester Airport, and delays to the introduction of longer trains due to constraints at Leeds station that would help ease overcrowding across West Yorkshire.

“The franchise agreements were designed to deliver a step change in services and passengers are rightly exasperated when these promises are not delivered on time. It is clear that the current system is failing to deliver and it is simply unacceptable that from January, passengers will be expected to pay more for these failing services.

“A major contributory factor is the capacity crisis on our rail network. There is an urgent need to invest at key pinch points such as Leeds to unlock further capacity. We also need significant investment in schemes such as HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail with a Bradford city centre station, an upgraded trans-Pennine route and improving resilience on the East Coast Main Line, if we are to have the modern reliable rail network the UK needs.

“The newly formed Government must create a rail system for the North of England, led by the North, as the Prime Minister rightly acknowledged in his speech in Rotherham on 13 September.”