One daily train will link Huddersfield and London, the government has revealed.

The direct rail link to and from the capital will be introduced from 2019 as part of the new East Coast deal.

But a rail expert says the plan hastens the need for a new platform at Huddersfield Railway Station.

The Department for Transport announced a consortium of Virgin Trains and Stagecoach will run the East Coast main line franchise from March 2015.

Under the terms of the eight-year franchise there will be:

- 23 new services from London to key destinations, with 75 more station calls a day

- Plans for direct links to Huddersfield and Dewsbury

- Proposals for more trains to London from Bradford, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, Shipley, Stirling and York

- 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak time by 2020; 12,200 additional seats across the fleet

- 65 state-of-the-art Intercity Express trains brought into passenger service from 2018 with 500 new carriages

- Journey times from London to Leeds reduced by 14 minutes

- A £140 million investment package to improve trains and stations

Over the next eight years Inter City Railways will pay the Government around £3.3 billion to operate the franchise.

East Coast rail operator plans
East Coast rail operator plans
 

Peter Marshall, chairman of the Huddersfield-Sheffield-Penistone Rail Users’ Association, said: “Passengers travelling to London from Huddersfield will welcome the plan to introduce one through train each day, but the faster and more frequent service offered from Leeds with a 10% reduction in fares may be more attractive in the short run.

“Huddersfield station will need to be adapted to accommodate the new services and that means that calls for a new platform nine must be heeded.”

The deal has angered Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who wanted the government to retain public ownership in the East Coast mainline.

In a Commons debate, Mr Sheerman asked the Transport Secretary: “Do you not realise that most people in Yorkshire see privatisation as having been a disaster for the train service across our region? It has been rotten. It is still going to be rotten.

Barry Sheerman
 

“I’m not the most radical member of these benches but I have been persuaded to take back into public ownership the rail system of this country. That is what we need, that is what we deserve.”

Patrick McLoughlin hit back: “I think if I’m right, the person who has just spoken is the honourable member for Huddersfield.

“Not a single welcome of a new trains service to Huddersfield, but rather talk about dogma than celebrating the first time since 1960 that your area is going to be served with a direct link.

“That sums up the Labour Party 100%. It is a Labour Party of Kinnock rather than of Blair or Brown.”

The award of the new franchise marks a return to the private sector for East Coast which has been run by the DfT since 2009 following the withdrawal of National Express.

Grand Central currently runs direct links to London from Mirfield and Brighouse.

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