Tracy Brabin’s Concerns Remain After Northern Rail Meeting

After significant interest from constituents, Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin hosted a public meeting with train operator Northern Rail.

The meeting was an opportunity for Ms Brabin and the public to question Northern Rail about current performance and future plans for the line.

Ahead of the meeting a number of constituents had raised their concerns regarding local train services including delays, capacity issues, delays in compensation payments, customer experiences and the quality of trains operating on the line.

Other issues raised at the meeting including ticket machines not functioning, an inadequate number of timetables available and insufficient storage space for cycles.

Northern Rail have a contract to operate local services until 2025.

In the public meeting Northern Rail made a number of commitments and explanations in response to questions from Ms Brabin and members of the public.

Northern Rail’s representative, Paul Branfield acknowledge there were operational issues. He explained their long term plan for transformation of services involving changing all seat covers on trains, introducing Wi-Fi, introducing new trains with more capacity.  He also stressed their timetabling performance was above the national average and that they are always looking at ways to improve.

Northern Rail committed to look into individual concerns surrounding capacity of trains and insufficient carriages although it is something they are aware of.

Delays in processing refunds was acknowledged and Northern Rail stated this is also an area for improvement in their long term plan.

Additional information included the news that Batley station is due to get a new ticket machine in 18 months.

Moreover, Northern Rail said that they would take on board the cyclist’s concerns and acknowledged that trains had storage issues – linking back to the need for a national strategy for new trains with better designs.

Timetables are printed by WY Combined Authority but Northern Rail stated that there is a desire to move away from printed copies into developing more online content.

Commenting on the meeting MP Tracy Brabin said:

After clear concern from my constituents I was glad Northern Rail came to Batley to answer questions I’d received and directly from the community.

“It’s clear that many commuters are not happy with the service they receive, which has an impact on them getting to work in the morning as well as getting back to their families after work.

Many of my initial concerns remain, particularly as there are no plans to make Batley Station accessible and improvements to tracks are quite far off in the future.

“I’ll be writing to the Secretary of State to press these points as Batley and Spen deserves high quality public transport because travellers pay a premium and rising price for train tickets.”