CALLS are being made for an extra through train between London and Keighley.

Local transport campaigner Graham Mitchell says the additional service would provide a huge boost to the town and surrounding area.

He addressed a meeting of Keighley Town Council about the issue and it has agreed to write to LNER – London North Eastern Railway – backing the idea of a morning train from King’s Cross.

Currently there is just one LNER through train from London to Keighley and Skipton each day, which leaves King’s Cross just after 6pm and arrives here about three hours later. There is also one through service to London every morning, Monday to Saturday.

Mr Mitchell said: “Before Covid, train companies made most of their profits from commuters and business travel – especially to and from London.

“But business commuting has fallen significantly and leisure travel is rising substantially across the UK. LNER managing director David Horne has said leisure travel ‘offers a path to recovery’ for train companies.

“Businesses and leisure attractions in Keighley and surrounding Bronte Country would benefit hugely from a second through train from London, departing King’s Cross say at 9am and arriving in Keighley at noon. This could be advertised and actively promoted as The Airedale Express – destination Bronte Country & the Dales.

“That same train would return to King’s Cross early afternoon, providing a welcome facility for locals heading to London for shopping or theatre and staying overnight – to return the following day on the 9am to Keighley and Skipton.”

He said Keighley district had many attractions to draw visitors, including the Worth Valley Railway, rail museums at Ingrow and Oxenhope, East Riddlesden Hall, Cliffe Castle Museum and park, the Bronte Parsonage Museum and the surrounding landscape.

Mr Mitchell added that there would “never be a better chance” than now to press for the extra train, with LNER presently carrying out a public consultation on its 2022 timetable.

A spokesperson for LNER said: “From May next year, we are looking to make significant improvements to our timetable which will allow us to run up to 39 more train services a day – meaning up to 17,000 extra seats across the LNER route.

“As a result of over a decade of planning and investment, including our new Azuma trains and Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade improvements, we are also able to deliver faster journeys. People’s opinions matter to us. We are running a consultation which is now open until Thursday, August 5.”

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