Tracy Brabin MP was taken aback by the horror stories relayed to her by members of the public at Batley Railway Station who slammed local services as ‘overcrowded and primitive’.
The Batley and Spen MP spent Friday morning speaking to constituents and commuters about their experiences of the local rail network.
She was joined at the station by campaigners from across the political divide who gathered to protest the shambolic introduction of the new Northern Rail timetable.
Ms Brabin said: “Having had numerous conversations and email exchanges with constituents about the dire situation I thought nothing could shock me – but I was wrong.
“Some of the stories I heard – one where a woman spent her journey crammed into a train toilet with six other commuters – were beyond belief.
“A young girl I spoke to was left extremely distressed when her train was delayed as she was on her way to a vital GCSE exam. Thankfully a good Samaritan helped her to book a taxi, but it could have been a different story.
“And these were just the tip of the iceberg. Consistent cancellations and delays, too few carriages, extortionate fares and nonsensical timetabling – the list goes on.These aren’t just stories – they are people’s lives.
“Last week I had a meeting with Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling as well as speaking to bosses from Northern Rail and Network Rail, and I did not hear a single thing that gave even the slightest impression that the Government has this under control.
“Time and time again we have been promised better transport links and a vastly improved rail service is integral to this.
“How can we have an interconnected Northern Powerhouse if we struggle to get from one town to the next?
“The Tory Government is failing the north on transport and we have a man in charge of it all who refuses to accept any responsibility whatsoever.
“It’s time for the Government to end the failed experiment in franchising and bring rail back into public ownership before any further damage is done.”
Ms Brabin is asking commuters to send her their experiences of the rail network locally with a view to compiling the responses to send to the Secretary of State for Transport.
She added: “We need to show the Government the reality of what is happening on the ground – and the more examples we can give, the more compelling a case we can build.”
Responses can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Tracy Brabin MP, 286 Oxford Road, Gomersal, BD19 4PY