Thursday, 5 March 2015

Reportage: Calder Valley line franchise on right track

Train operators who want to bid for the Northern Franchise will be required to include a range of improvements to local services.

The franchise, which includes the Calder Valley line, will require bidders to provide plans to replace outdated Pacer trains; introduce a new fleet of modern trains; tackle overcrowding; invest in stations; increase capacity and provide free wireless internet access.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers across the north who will finally get a rail service that matches up to the booming economy in this region.

“That means more seats, more services and a brand new fleet of modern trains.”
Three companies have been shortlisted to run the franchise: Abellio Northern Ltd, Arriva Rail North Limited and Govia Northern Limited - the companies must submit their bids by June 26.

The conditions of the bid rule-out the use of former London Underground D-Trains and the refurbishment of Pacers.

Stephen Waring, chair of the Halifax and District Rail Action Group. said “The decision of the DfT and Rail North apparently to rule out either of those options is a triumph for months of campaigning by HADRAG and other groups.

“We always said the Crawlers were unsuitable for our line. We have made the bureaucrats in London listen.”

Coun Tim Swift, leader of the Labour group, said: “Halifax and Calderdale will benefit significantly. The franchise will include longer trains, more frequent services and extended routes.”


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