RAIL campaigners have been left frustrated and disappointed by the lack of progress on electrification and general improvements at Greenfield Station.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has also expressed her anger at Greenfield being ignored in the upgrade works once again.
Recently the Government announced funding for electrification of 15 miles of the TransPennine line in North Yorkshire and two new stations outside Leeds.
But Greenfield Rail Action Group (GRAG) has said this will bring ‘little or no benefit’ to travellers leaving from Greenfield station.
“We have been assured of electrification of the line between Victoria and Stalybridge but not the line to Piccadilly to where Greenfield trains currently travel,” they said.
“There will be alterations to the station at Huddersfield which is grade 1 listed. There will also be electrification of the line beyond Huddersfield towards York. There is little or no benefit to Greenfield travellers in these plans.”
The group was also recently asked to consult with the community about the ‘Manchester Recovery Plan’ proposal which would include two trains per hour at Greenfield. It has now been told the proposal is ’not workable’.
Mark Ashmore, GRAG chair, has written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham reminding him of the group’s aims: two trains per hour; elimination of the ‘Tunnel Tax’ between Greenfield and Marsden; full disabled access at Greenfield Station; and bus/rail integration of services, timetable and fares.
MP Mrs Abrahams is also calling for Greenfield to be included in the improvement works, especially making the station accessible for all.
She said: “I am deeply frustrated that yet again Greenfield has been overlooked. I am also concerned that the announcement appears to be a slightly more detailed re-announcement of previous commitments.
“Back in January I asked the rail minister for a commitment for an accessible station at Greenfield. None was forthcoming and I fear we may be seeing why.
“We need full electrification on the line. It will bring environmental benefits, taking polluting diesel vehicles off the tracks.
“Electrification will also improve punctuality and reliability for passengers.
“Vitally, electrification will require a new footbridge at Greenfield, one that will be accessible for all.
“We were originally promised that a decision on the electrification of the Huddersfield line would be part of the Government’s integrated rail plan, which should have been released back in December. This date was then moved to April this year, another deadline missed.
“I back the call of my colleagues for the integrated rail plan to be published now.
“It must involve a rolling programme of electrification, including for Greenfield, not delivering in dribs and drabs, which ends up costing the British taxpayer more.”