TRACY BRABIN MP COLUMN: Batley and Spen deserves a better train service

18 October 2016 .......       Labour candidate Tracy Brabin on the campaign trail  in Heckmondwike. Picture Tony Johnson
18 October 2016 ....... Labour candidate Tracy Brabin on the campaign trail in Heckmondwike. Picture Tony Johnson

I sincerely hope everyone in Batley and Spen had a wonderful and restful Christmas.

Our community really put on a show.

Wherever I went I felt warmth and passion to bring people together.

Now the leftover turkey is finally past its best, we look forward to the opportunities 2017 will bring and our priorities as a community.

With minds focusing on going back to work I know commuting will be high amongst the concerns of many.

I have been contacted frequently by people highlighting the problems they have getting to work and back.

There appears to be real problems with the trainline between Batley and Leeds.

Cancelled trains, over-crowding and filthy, out of date carriages are the main issues.

I don’t believe the people of Batley and Spen should have to settle for a sub-standard service so I’ve arranged for Northern Rail to come to Batley to explain their regeneration plans for the line.

I’ll be there, listening with interest and hope many will come along and decide if current plans will be sufficient.

Decisions regarding railways shouldn’t be made behind closed doors.

They are a public service and, as users, you should have a say in determining how they operate and what needs to be improved.

What happens here is part of a wider, national discussion.

The government herald their ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and while the ambition is an admirable one, the devil, as always, is in the detail.

I’ve long held concerns that the Northern Powerhouse runs the risk of prioritising the big cities rather than taking true account of all talents in the north.

The people of Batley and Spen have an enormous amount to offer, but if we cannot commute with ease, even to Leeds, we’re stumbling at the first hurdle.

The last direct weekday bus from Leeds to Batley departs at 10.35pm.

In today’s world of work where unusual hours are becoming the norm, that’s no longer sufficient and how can we enjoy all the culture on offer there or learning opportunities when the last bus leaves before the theatre curtain comes down or the class ends?

It didn’t come as a surprise to discover that transport spending per head is 12 times in London what it is in the north.

In fact, work has started on the pan-London Crossrail 2 before Crossrail 1 is even finished!

This is why I’d like to make 2017 the year the government views the north and south with parity.

The meeting with Northern Rail is provisionally booked to take place on Friday, January 27.

Please contact me if you wish to attend, to receive feedback from the meeting or feed in anything ahead of time.