The Tour de France was a once in a lifetime event for Yorkshire, so imagine waking up at the crack of dawn, getting the kids ready and heading down to your local rail station to go and be a part of history, only to be denied the chance because the trains are so busy you can’t even get on them.
That’s what happened to around 250 Morley residents last weekend as they were left stranded and angry after Northern Rail only ran two carriage services along the Huddersfield to Leeds line on Saturday morning.
The problem affected passengers at stations across the line, but was particularly prevalent at Morley with it being the last stop on the route before Leeds.
Tour organisers had advised against the public using the roads to get to their destination over the weekend, leaving the train as the only possible means of transport for most.
Toni Briens, 46, from Morley, said that her party of five adults and four young children were unable to get to their first-choice destination of Ilkley as a result.
She said: “We thought we were doing the right thing getting ourselves up and to the station really early but we were gobsmacked to see only a two carriage train pull in because it was just so packed, We were stuck at the station for an hour and a half without any information.
“One pregnant lady had to be literally squeezed on to the train because she said she wouldn’t get paid if she couldn’t get into work. Another lady had to get to a job interview as well, so she needed to get on the train.”
Coun Neil Dawson said that he had written to Northern Rail to ask for an explanation.
He said: “On the busiest day for decades for rail travel, Northern Rail provided a normal Saturday service at Morley. Even on Monday to Fridays there is an additional early morning service from Morley to Leeds; we did not even get that.”
A Northern Rail spokeswoman said: “We provided over 50 per cent additional capacity across our network for Le Tour de France. This was a huge contribution to the event’s public services.
“We appreciate some customers were disappointed to not get on their chosen service and we can only apologise for this. As an un-ticketed event it was a challenge to provide additional capacity and we couldn’t provide additional services for every station.”