Todmorden Curve: delays to new services in spite of MP's assurances
Friday, 17 January 2014
Labour's Calder Valley parliamentary candidate has been told by Northern Rail that trains will not run on the new 'Todmorden Curve' track until December, confirming fears that a lack of rolling stock would delay passengers benefitting from the track upgrade.
The last trains ran over this track in 1965 and nearly 50 years of vegetation has to be removed from the track bed between Stansfield Hall and the main Todmorden to Hebden Bridge line. The Todmorden Curve reinstatement will make it possible for direct services between Manchester and Burnley, meaning passengers no longer have to change trains at Hebden Bridge.
In November last year Josh Fenton-Glynn brought shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh to Todmorden station to speak with locals about the issue and ask her to take it up in parliament.
In response to that visit, sitting MP Craig Whittaker accused Labour of scaremongering, telling the Todmorden News that he expected the required diesel trains to be found by May and for the new route to be fully operational on time.
But at a ward forum in Mytholmroyd attended by Northern Rail's head of stakeholder management this week, Fenton-Glynn asked for an update on the latest situation and was told that while the Curve will be finished by May, there would not be regular services on it until December.
Josh Fenton-Glynn told the HebWeb, "The representative from Northern Rail confirmed what we've been warning about for months – that a lack of trains to run on the new Todmorden Curve won't be overcome until December, meaning the finished track will sit dormant for months – an inexcusable piece of incompetence about which local people are justifiably angry.
"Instead of complacently telling us not to worry and that everything will be alright, Craig Whittaker should have been demanding answers and taking action to stand up for local people on this issue. His failure to do so speaks volumes.
"Unlike Mr Whittaker, I will be continuing to keep up the pressure on Northern Rail and other key decision makers including the government to try and get this situation rectified as soon as possible."