By Lewis Oldham
An investigation by Yorkshire Voice has uncovered that during October, only one in six trains travelling from Horsforth to Leeds in the morning rush hour were on time.
Northern Rail has been under scrutiny for months now after regular strike action and the lateness of trains became a growing concern for the public.
According to figures published by Raildar, the worst day was Tuesday 2 October, when five out of eight trains running on this route between 7am and 9am were cancelled, and the remaining three trains were all late.
The delays across the month ranged from just one minute to up to 37 minutes.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, has responded to these complaints by saying:
“Trains on this line regularly run with less capacity than planned, which results in passengers being left behind at Horsforth, Headingley and Burley Park stations. This underlines the need to make sure the Northern franchise has the number of diesel trains it needs and prioritises the busiest services to run longer trains.
“We are continuing to press the rail industry both directly and via Transport for the North to make sure longer trains are running where they are needed.
“Also Cllr Judith Blake, who is leader of Leeds City Council and a Combined Authority member, is working with the Rail Minister Jo Johnson on a review of the recent problems caused by timetable changes to identify measures that can improve services for passengers.”
It is during rush hour times when the trains perform at their worst. According to Raildar figures, throughout October, only around a third of the trains going from Leeds to Horsforth between 5pm and 7pm were on time.
Dave Robertson, who is a Horsforth resident, commutes regularly on the train and he has said:
“I travel five days out of seven, and very rarely do the trains run to time. The delays vary from only a couple of minutes out to fifteen minutes to just not turning up at all.
“On Sunday the first train of the day was late. Northern Rail is not being held accountable by the government. Yet the fares go up twice a year with no marked increase in reliability or service.”
A further complaint has been about the quality and size of trains, with people often left waiting for the next train with carriages not fitting all commuters on.
Jonathan Shaw is a Horsforth resident who uses the early trains often.
He said: “My experience on trains between 8am and 9am has not been good. I’ve seen people faint on the train at those times and nothing seems to change. Some of the trains are old tube trains, the whole thing really needs updating.”
Northern Rail were contacted for comment but they did not respond at time of publication.