A campaign to transform rail travel around Harrogate is celebrating victory, as provider Northern Rail has announced an extra Sunday service between the town and York.
Harrogate Line Supporters Group (HLSG) is working towards ensuring the Harrogate line is electrified by 2020, and is campaigning for more frequent services between Harrogate and York, the nearest point at which the town is connected to the East Coast mainline.
From this Sunday, the service that currently starts at Knaresborough will be extended back to York to start at 11.14am, providing an earlier Sunday morning service.
There will also be an earlier service from Harrogate to York at 10.48am.
Chief Executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce Brian Dunsby, who is leading the HLSG project, said: “This is part of our campaign to help Northern Rail realise the potential for additional passengers in running more services.
“The problem is they cannot get extra rolling stock during the week, as it is all committed.
“But they have managed to get stock, fuel and staff for the service, in response to our campaign.
“Sunday travel is very important. It demonstrates that ours is not just a commuter service.
“We are thankful to Northern Rail for finding the staff and fuel to run the extra trains.”
Richard Allan, Area Director for Northern Rail said: “This is the latest improvement to services on the Harrogate line, following a new Saturday evening train from York and more seats and services on Sundays.
“Working with and listening to the local communities we serve helps us deliver passenger friendly improvements such as these and plan for future investment.”
Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said: “The increasing popularity of the Harrogate line is driving these changes to the Sunday timetable.
“It is good to see the growth of passengers being responded to so positively by Northern Rail with this new service. And a new service will encourage more people to use our railway.
“Good transport links are essential if we wish to see our local economy grow. An additional service before noon on a Sunday will give shoppers and tourists the chance of a longer day at their destination. This, in turn, will provide a welcome boost to local businesses.
“These changes come on top of an already improved service and other important changes such as fast ticketing machines, enhanced signalling and new direct service from London.”
HLSG is expected to submit a business plan for the potential electrification of the line this week, and thanked rail users for their reports of poor service and car parking issues, which helped to piece together the plan.
How else could rail providers help improve the service? Tweet us @HarrogateHound or email Ackrill.firstname.lastname@example.org