Yorkshire communities which had almost been shunted into the sidings can look forward to several new direct services.
As from Monday – the first weekday when December timetable changes take effect – the second platform at Castleford railway station will come back into use. As a result, TransPennine Express (TPE) will restart services linking York with Manchester Piccadilly, calling at Castleford, Wakefield Kirkgate and Huddersfield. This has been made possible in the wake of the recently completed works, which form party of the TransPennine Route Upgrade.
It is more than half a century since Castleford and York have been linked with a direct daily service, as the last trains ran in 1970. Wakefield will also have its first direct service to Manchester since 2004 and Normanton will benefit from direct connections to both York and Manchester.
There will be four trains a day in each direction on the new service from York to Manchester via Wakefield, with an additional service running once daily in each direction between Manchester and Wakefield via Huddersfield.
Chris Jackson, Managing Director for TransPennine Express, said: “We are honoured to provide the first direct train between Castleford and York in more than 50 years, and we're delighted that this service, introduced in our December timetable change, will boost connectivity across West Yorkshire.”
“This significant milestone has been made possible due to the first fully completed passenger infrastructure works as part of the TransPennine Route Upgrade. Not only are we able to connect communities, but this infrastructure enables a key diversionary route for TPE, allowing us to keep customers on the move throughout engineering works and other disruption.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “Introducing these new services builds on the significant investment we have put into Castleford railway station over the last few years, including a new station building and improved facilities for passengers.
“More trains can only be a good thing – boosting connectivity and opportunities for people in our region. But we want to go further, and I will continue to push for more frequent and reliable services so that public transport becomes the first choice for travel in a better-connected West Yorkshire.”
Updated 9/12 as incorrect Wakefield station was mentioned in original article