Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Shipley, Anna Dixon, has launched a campaign against rail cuts on the Wharfedale line that will ‘isolate communities and stunt economic growth’.

Northern Rail is introducing a new timetable on Sunday, May 21. Services from Ilkley and Skipton to Bradford Forster Square will continue to run twice an hour during the peak, but will reduce to one train per hour during off-peak hours to reflect lower customer demand, the company says.

Anna Dixon is concerned about the potential impact on passengers and raised the issue with West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin when she visited Burley-in-Wharfedale station. She has also started a petition against the cuts which she is inviting local residents to sign.

She said: “The reduced hourly service outside of peak hours is a blow to many people who rely on the trains, many of whom have no alternative form of transport. The Conservatives have destroyed our rail services across the country, and this is another hammer blow to our community and our local economy.

“I will continue to fight alongside West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe to ensure Northern reinstates the full timetable as soon as possible. The next Labour government will bring our railways back into public ownership as contracts expire, ending the Tories’ failing system, and putting passengers back at the heart of our rail network.”

John Grogan, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Keighley and Ilkley said: “Connections between the Wharfedale Line and Airedale Line at Shipley will now be much more difficult over the summer. Northern are now establishing a pattern of cutting services every summer and not being clear what will happen in the autumn. This makes it very difficult for people to plan with confidence work and leisure journeys. We need a clear commitment that the full timetable of half hour services will be restored for good in the autumn.”

The campaign is also supported by newly elected Labour councillors Chris Steele in Wharfedale and Oliver Edwards in Guiseley and Rawdon, whose wards are impacted by the cuts.

Leeds City Councillor Oliver Edwards (Guiseley and Rawdon) said: "Regular, reliable and speedy connections between our towns and both Bradford and Leeds are essential for thousands of residents who travel for work or to travel onwards. They are also essential gateways for people visiting and potentially investing in our communities. With great gaps in bus provision and pressure on city roads, Northern should be doing everything possible to connect up our communities."

Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern, said: “The new timetable coming into effect this Sunday does indeed include the removal of a very small number of off-peak services – including at Wharfedale – which reflect customer demand. We communicated that information to those communities when the decision was made.”