EMBARRASED railway bosses have been forced to apologise after mistakenly promising to invest £10m at Harrogate Station.
Network Rail, which is reponsible for the rail tracks and most stations, meant to announce a major investment in Huddersfield Station as part of a nationwide programme of spending.
But a mix-up led to Harrogate being named as the one of the big winners in the package of measures that will see around £4bn spent on the East Coast Main Line and linked routes over five years.
The mistake was compounded when Phil Verster, Network Rail’s managing director for the route, gave a radio interview extolling the benefits of the investment for passengers using Harrogate Station. Mr Verster said passengers in Harrogate would be “very pleased” with the changes they were set to make.
In a statement Network Rail blamed the mistake on “human error” and apologised for the confusion but now campaigners in Harrogate who have long called for improvements to the station and services are looking to turn the situation to their advantage.
The Harrogate Chamber of Trade has secured a pledge from Network Rail to look again at what can be done to help improve train services in the area,
Chief executive Brian Dunsby said: “We have the lost the battle but maybe it may help us to win the war.
“What we want Network Rail to do is to restore the track between Knaresborough and Cattal. That then improves the efficiency and timing of trains between Harrogate and York.
“They have got a plan to upgrade the signalling but we have to get the track right first.”
Mr Verster said he would meet with interested parties in Harrogate about their hopes for the town’s station and “really consider which of those plans can be considered to be phased in in the future”.