Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the government’s rail policy and has hailed what he called a “revolution” in the rail network over the last 20 years.
On a visit to Morley on Monday, Mr McLoughlin said that the town’s station “Perhaps needed a bit of expenditure” to improve its facilities.
Campaigners have long called for disabled access to be provided for the Huddersfield platform and for ticket facilities to be provided to avoid excess queuing at Leeds Station.
Mr McLoughlin said: “Morley Station is a very important station. What we’re seeing is a huge growth in the rail network and more people using it. Morley is so vitally important as far as Leeds concerned - you’ve got good connections here. Perhaps the station needs a bit of expenditure as far as the facilities are concerned.” The cabinet minister also defended this month’s fare rise, which saw an average of 2.3 per cent added to the price of a Northern Rail ticket:
“For every pound that’s spent, 97p goes into the rail network through infrastructure or though providing services,” he said. “Over the last 20 years we have seen nothing short of a revolution in the railways. 20 years ago there were 750m journeys made in the UK - last year there were 1.6bn journeys made. We’ve got to look at how we’re doing investment: we want new rolling stock and we want to get rid of the pacer trains and make sure they’re replaced. When we issue the new franchise we will say that rolling stock is an essential part of the contract.”
“Nobody likes putting up prices, but this year and last year they were frozen at RPI levels - the first time that has happened in some 15 years.”
Andrea Jenkyns, Morley’s Prespective Parliamentary Conservative Candidate said she invited the Transport Secretary to the area so he could see the station’s issues “first hand”. She said: “We discussed the need of a ticket machine, car parking facilities and disabled accesss.
“I will continue to fight for improvements so that we get the station that Morley deserves.”