Tag Archives: Railways

Volunteers celebrate opening of revamped Batley station

Gwen Lowe and Jo Cox pictured in front of the new muralThe revamp of Batley Station was officially opened on Friday with a celebration of all the work that has been done.

The Friends of Batley Station, which was created by Batley councillor Gwen Lowe and Jo Cox MP, has led the work to rejuvenate the station. This included securing invaluable support from PPG, the Birstall paint and coatings company.

More than 100 PPG volunteers completed painting the entire station on Friday, including the old waiting room, which will now become a community space, and a spectacular mural along the subway that links the two platforms.

Mrs Cox said: “The transformation of Batley station is absolutely amazing. The work PPG and its staff and volunteers have done is incredible.

Friends of Batley Station“Friday’s celebration not only launches our wonderful revamped station but pays tribute to PPG, the Friends of Batley Station and all those who have played a role in making it happen.

“When we formed FOBS I don’t think any of us imagined just how this project would capture people’s imaginations. It shows what a community can do when we all come together.”

Mrs Cox wrote a piece for yesterday’s Yorkshire Post newspaper on the benefits of community rail projects, such as the Friends of Batley Station. You can read it by clicking here.

Jo Cox hosts public meeting to discuss level crossing’s future

Jo Cox hosts a public meeting at St Thomas's, BatleyMore than 60 residents attended a meeting hosted by Jo Cox MP to raise concerns and comments on plans to remove the signal box at Howley Street at Batley.

Signalling improvements by Network Rail means the box will be removed. This will cast doubt on the future of the adjacent Lady Anne level crossing, which is controlled by the signal box.

Mrs Cox arranged the consultation following a meeting with Network Rail in Parliament where she raised residents’ concerns.

The Batley & Spen MP said: “This was a very productive meeting and very well attended. Network Rail had the chance to outline their plans and thoughts and residents were able to feedback their concerns, comments and their hopes as the scheme moves forward.

“It is quite clear to me that the crossing is well used although opinion is divided on what exactly should happen there going forward. Nevertheless, residents made some very good and well reasoned arguments that I am confident Network Rail will take on board.”

Lady Anne Crossing at Howley Street, BatleyResidents questioned the reasoning for removing the level crossing and whether it could be maintained with an automated system.

One suggestion is to erect a footbridge in place of the crossing. Residents raised concerns about the design, scale and location of such a bridge and whether it would accommodate horse riders, who at present use the level crossing a great deal.

There were also concerns about loss of access for emergency vehicles, the usage and monitoring data being used by Network Rail and the potential for inconvenience for those seeking to cross between Upper Batley and Soothill.

Mrs Cox added: “I will raise all the issues in writing with Network Rail as well as a series of other questions and concerns that arose.”

Simon Lewis from Network Rail, who made a presentation at the meeting at St Thomas’s Church on Grosvenor Road on Saturday morning, said safety and reducing risk was a driving factor in their thinking.

He said he would feedback all the concerns and comments raised and pledged to hold a follow up meeting to discuss the proposals further.

Mrs Cox thanked everyone who attended and thanked St Thomas’s Church for hosting the meeting.

Network Rail to consult on its Batley changes

Network Rail will consult residents about plans to close the level crossing and signal box at Howley Street in Batley.

Batley's signal box and level crossingThe level crossing and signal box will be decommissioned as part of safety and signalling works being carried out along the Huddersfield line.

A meeting, hosted by Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, will take place on Saturday morning between Network Rail and local residents keen to air their views on the plans.

Mrs Cox said: “I’ve been working with residents, who are very keen to be heard about the plans, particularly about what will replace the level crossing.

“I’m delighted that Network Rail has agreed to my request to come and meet residents and talk directly to them about the proposals for what replaces the level crossing.”

Network Rail’s Denise Thompson said: “As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, we will be carrying out works to improve the railway between Bradford and Huddersfield and this presents us with the opportunity to close Lady Anne level crossing.

“We believe the most effective way of reducing risk associated at level crossings is to close them, and so we look for opportunities to do so within our programme of work and in conjunction with local authorities and other stakeholders.”

The signalling improvements along the line means the signal box will no longer be required.

The meeting will be at 11.30am at St Thomas the Apostle on Grosvenor Road.

Assurances on train upgrades welcomed

Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has welcomed assurances that rail commuters locally will see a huge difference in the quality of their trains by 2020.

Mrs Cox sought and received assurances from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority that rolling stock presently in use will be replaced and upgraded and that the old Pacer trains, which have been on local lines for the best part of 30 years, will be decommissioned.

Mrs Cox said: “The present rolling stock is old, uncomfortable and there isn’t nearly enough of it. I am very pleased to hear that by 2020 we will see the end of the Pacers, replaced by more modern, refurbished trains as well as new ones.

“Rail investment is not only important for commuters but it is also key to growing our regional economy. The government’s so called Northern Powerhouse agenda may have stalled but we must ensure that the north, and Yorkshire in particular, can grow and prosper.

“Better trains and electrification of the Transpennine route are integral parts of this and I am delighted we have been able to overcome Government resistance and secure commitments on both.”

Mrs Cox was one of a number of Yorkshire MPs who forced the Government to backtrack on plans to delay electrification indefinitely. The plans, promised by the government before the election but shelved immediately afterwards, will now go ahead but with significant delays.

Mrs Cox met with a director of the authority last week.

Cautious welcome for news electrification back on track

First TransPennine ExpressFollowing news of the Government u-turn on electrification of the Transpennine rail line, Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, who led demands for the project to be reinstated, said:

“I am delighted that the government has finally bowed to pressure and reinstated the commitment to rail electrification for the Transpennine line. However the battle is not yet won.

“This announcement, although welcome, still represents a long delay on the original plan. I hope this is not a drop kick into the long grass for a much needed investment, with more pauses to come.

“Also I would still like to see more, such as a move to increase capacity and have a proper plan to get rid of inadequate Pacers.”

Mrs Cox tabled a Parliamentary motion demanding the Government reinstate the electrification plans.