COUNCILLORS have called for major changes in the way the railways are run across the North.
Local authorities in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester – including Kirklees – are urging the Government to devolve decisions about rail services in the North of England to the northern regions.
And they want a combined franchise to succeed the current Northern and TransPennine franchises – with management of operations based in the north rather than London.
Northern Rail and First Trans-Pennine Express currently hold the franchises for rail services in the north of England.
Northern’s operations include the Huddersfield-Sheffield route while FTPE provides trans-Penine express services linking Huddersfield with Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, York, Newcastle and Hull.
Northern’s franchise ends on March 31, 2014.
Regional leaders argue that FTPE’s franchise could be terminated on the same date – allowing both to be re-let together.
They claim the changes will boost the regional economy by providing faster and more frequent services between main centres and improving stations and rolling stock.
Clr James Lewis, chairman of West Yorkshire Metro, said the passenger transport executive already spent more than £70m a year supporting 25m journeys on local train services, adding: “We are certain that we can use our local knowledge and industry experience to introduce measures that would improve passenger services.”