Jake Berry MP called for a rethink after it emerged that three days of disruption from August 24-25 would hit spectators attending the Ashes Test at Headingley; York’s Ebor Festival and rugby league’s Challenge Cup final. Leeds Festival revellers will also be affected.
However regional managing director Rob McIntosh says there are no alternative dates and blames local councils for not informing event organisers of the closure.
Writing in The Yorkshire Post, he concedes: “What we could – and should – have done better was to let key partners in business, sport and tourism have more notice.
“We involved local authorities in our planning, but the flow of information to those who needed to know was clearly not what we hoped for or expected. There were important people who were caught off guard when we announced the closure in June. They shouldn’t have been and I’m sorry they were.”
Confirming that this will be the first of several weekend closures, he also stresses that trains will still run between Yorkshire and Peterborough where passengers will catch buses to and from King’s Cross. “Upwards of 75 per cent of services will arrive as normal into York and Leeds,” he adds. “Yet our messaging has conveyed to some people that the stations will be effectively closed. So we’re changing that now and will reflect on it for the work ahead.”