If Bradford is 2025 UK City of Culture, don’t expect to catch the train after Yorkshire’s latest rail betrayal – The Yorkshire Post says

BRADFORD’S pride that it is on the final shortlist to become the 2025 UK City of Culture is tempered by the fact that it is about to suffer a series of cuts to its rail services that make a mockery of the London Government’s levelling up agenda – and relocation of Department for Transport officials to West Yorkshire to apparently improve decision-making.

After all, the reason that Bradford is in the running for a special status that Hull enjoyed in 2017 is because of the potential of its bid to attract visitors from across Britain and beyond. They should just not expect to travel here by train.

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Bradford is reeling from another set of cuts to local rail services on the day that it reached the final four in the race to become the 2025 UK City of Culture. Photo: James Hardisty.

Not only is the decision to halve the number of trains operating from Forster Square to Shipley, Ilkley and Skipton a dereliction of public duty, given the number of students who depend on this service, but further cuts to Northern rail services show a wider contempt for passengers.

If they go ahead, the latest timetable changes will leave gaps of over two hours each evening on the line between Leeds and Harrogate at a very time when this Government is encouraging families to use public transport.

Yes, the impact of the Covid was not foreseen – but neither was the failure of the DfT, and wider rail industry, to entice passengers back onto the trains and, instead, use the pandemic as an excuse for a series of decisions that would not be tolerated in the capital. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, writing in The Yorkshire Post earlier this week, said this is no longer a London-centric government. Secretary of State, perhaps you’d like to visit Bradford and tell that in person to all those who will be affected by this, frankly, rank hypocrisy.

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Bradford is reeling from another set of cuts to local rail services on the day that it reached the final four in the race to become the 2025 UK City of Culture. Photo: James Hardisty.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, speaking at the Tory party's spring conference in Blackpool yesterday. as cuts to rail services in Bradford and Leeds emerged.