Rail campaigners have been out in force to tell passengers all about new train operator Arriva Rail North.

And they have welcomed a pledge to do more to improve village stations in Huddersfield.

Members of the Penistone Line Partnership, the community rail partnership for the Huddersfield–Penistone-Sheffield line have been handing out leaflets to passengers at Huddersfield railway station.

The Penistone Line near Berry Brow station

Arriva Rail North, which is retaining the “Northern” brand name, has pledged to make a wide range of improvements to service and quality during the term of the nine-year contract – including removing all of the Pacer type vehicles, refurbishing the remaining train fleet to an “as new” standard and introducing a fleet of new diesel and electric trains.

New services will include introducing a Northern Connect brand of inter-regional services linking major cities in the north as the new trains arrive.

There will also be increased funding for community rail partnerships, including the Penistone Line Partnership, station adoptions and other community activity.

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Rowena Chantler, community rail officer for the Penistone Line, said, ‘We look forward to working with Northern on many projects along our line.

“Work is already starting at Penistone on the disused platform with the Trans Pennine Trail Conservation Volunteers and at Denby Dale and Stocksmoor with Denby Dale and District Rotary Club.

“We are really grateful to these groups and look forward to doing even more in the months to come with them and other groups.”

Volunteers (from left) Glyn Scothern, David Wilkinson, community rail officer Rowena Chantler, June Scothern and Neil Bentley, Niorthern train driver and chairman of the Penistone Line Partnership with leaflets about the new Arriva Rail North franchise at Huddersfield railway station

Partnership chairman Neil Bentley, who is also a Northern train driver, said: “It is very encouraging that Northern are so committed to supporting community rail, I am delighted that the managing director of the new train company Alex Hynes has agreed to speak at out forthcoming annual meeting on May 4.” The meeting takes place at 7.30pm at Stocksmoor Village Hall.

The Penistone Line Partnership welcomes new volunteers, Contact Rowena Chantler on 07912 753817.