HUDDERSFIELD Railway Station is in line for a major expansion – as villagers step up their campaign for a new stop in the Colne Valley.
Transport secretary Justine Greening announced that the town’s historic station will be one of just three in the country to benefit from the High-Level Output Specification funding.
Stations at Huddersfield, Oxford and Bristol will be expanded as part of a £4.2bn package to improve rail services across the country.
Final details of the investment will be revealed in January 2013 with work due to start the following year.
But Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman called for the upgrade to begin sooner.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Labour backbencher said: “The secretary of state should be congratulated on any investment for our country, for the Yorkshire region and for Huddersfield, but, according to the classic economic theory of Keynes, this country is in a deep recession and we need this investment now, not in two years’ time.”
Mrs Greening replied: “If we want to be ready to get the next pipeline kicked off in 2014, we have to announce it today so that the industry can start to look at what we want and then come back with proposals on achieving it.
“I am very proud and pleased that we have been able to announce that investment, and I look forward to working with him as we develop these proposals.”
Mrs Greening also announced on Monday that £20m would be made available to build new stations throughout the country.
Earlier this month campaigners set up Golcar, Longwood and Milnsbridge (GLAM) Transport to campaign for a new stop at the Old Railway Goods Yard off Scar Lane in Milnsbridge.
The proposed station would provide services between Huddersfield and Manchester.
Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney supported the £20m investment.
“I very much welcome the investment in Huddersfield Railway Station and the new station fund, which my community of Milnsbridge may go for,” the Conservative told Parliament.
Clr Paul Salveson, who helped set up GLAM Transport, said the area needed a new station.
“In the longer term, the case for a station serving Milnsbridge and Golcar will only get stronger,” he said.
“We need to make sure that the hugely important Trans-Pennine rail artery has the capacity to meet the demands of rising traffic, passenger and freight, over the next 20 years.”
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the huge investment in the railway network on Monday.
The spending includes £322m on the Northern Hub, a programme of electrification which will lead to more and faster trains between Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds.
But Clr Salveson, a former senior manager at Northern Rail, said the investment could affect the stopping service between Huddersfield and Manchester, which serves Slaithwaite and Marsden.
The Golcar Labour man said: “The Department for Transport has issued a paper outlining ‘illustrative options’ on train service patterns which cast more light on Government thinking.
“The good news is that the current stopping service between Huddersfield and Manchester, serving Slaithwaite and Marsden, will be retained.
“The less positive news is that it will run into Manchester Piccadilly instead of Victoria. This will not be convenient for people with jobs in the busy commercial district around Victoria station.
“A further big question hangs over the peak hour stopping services.
“Will Slaithwaite and Marsden still have half-hourly stopping trains in the morning and evening peak?”