The reintroduction of several Northern train services has been welcomed in Bradford.
Northern is due to change its timetables this Sunday when it will restore a number of key services on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines that it dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For Bradford rail users, it comes as a welcome boost after a period that has seen frequent train cancellations, numerous days of strike action and the axing of the long-term plan for a new station on the Northern Powerhouse Rail network.
Early and late services that have been missing from the schedules will also be put back in.
It means that Bradford district residents who travel to and from a number of stations such as Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Menston, Baildon, Shipley, Frizinghall, Saltaire, Bingley, Crossflatts, Keighley and Steeton and Silsden can benefit from restored services.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Transport Committee, said: “We have been pressing Northern for many months to get these services back up and running, so this is very welcome news for our residents, schools, colleges and businesses who have been affected.
“Passengers using the Airedale and Wharfedale lines – including young people getting to and from school – have been badly inconvenienced by the reductions.
“After the lockdowns there has been a strong bounce-back in demand for train and bus services in the North compared to other parts of the country so we need to see government and operators meeting demand with reliable services.”
The reinstatement of Northern services has been welcomed by Bradford Grammar School, which has also lobbied for the timetables to be restored, and by businesses in Ilkley and Bradford.
Homera Najib, bursar at Bradford Grammar School, said: “We are delighted the full train schedule has been reinstated. Over 300 pupils at Bradford Grammar use the trains every day so this will be a relief to many of our families.”
Ian White, chair of Ilkley Business Improvement District (BID), said: “We are delighted to see the full train service reinstated. Not only will this be welcomed by residents in Ilkley and surrounding areas who rely on the train for commuting to work or school, but it will give greater opportunities and flexibility for visitors to travel into Ilkley.”
Jonny Noble, Bradford BID manager, added: “Earlier this year, we joined forces with Ilkley and Keighley BIDs to ensure these cuts to key district rail services were reversed as soon as possible.
“We are pleased that message has finally got through and that travel will again become easier for the commuters, retail customers, service users, workers, students and leisure-seekers.”
Northern has been contacted for a comment.