Network Rail have done their draft regional Urban Market Study, using West Yorkshire as a prototype for their new approach to developing plans for the future.
“The regional urban market study draft for consultation is one of four consultation documents produced as part of the Long Term Planning Process. Together, the London and South East, long distance passenger market studies and the freight market study will set out how passenger and freight demand is expected to change in each of these markets in Britain over the next 30 years.”
“In developing the market studies, the rail industry sets out a new approach to developing plans for the future. This reflects the need to gain a better understanding about how plans for the railway impact on the economy and make sure that strategic change, such as the implementation of the Northern Hub programme, the development and implementation of the electrification programme and the development of High Speed 2, can be effectively considered in rail industry planning.”
“The regional urban market relates primarily to travel by large numbers of people for commuting or leisure purposes in an area less than 50 miles from a regional centre and this study seeks to understand where rail can exploit its competitive advantages in best serving this market. Despite the recession commuting demand into regional centres continues to grow as a result of modal shift from road to rail. It is anticipated that this growth will continue in the future. Key deliverables of the study are the ‘conditional outputs’ for the regional urban sector in terms of frequency and journey times on key suburban corridors.”
“The regional urban passenger market study draft for consultation was published on 25 April 2013 with a 90 day consultation period ending on 26 July 2013. We welcome the views of interested parties on the proposals set out in the study.”
Their rather disappointing conclusion is that they don’t see a case for increasing the frequency of trains at Slaithwaite and Marsden. The methodology has some obvious flaws, and some of the figures and assertions are either dubious or just plain wrong. For example, their figures assert that the population within a 1km radius of Marsden station is nil, which might come as a surprise to the 4,000 inhabitants of the village. Obviously people who don’t exist have a fairly low propensity to travel by train! Errors such as this would clearly have the effect of undermining what we believe to be a very strong case for improving the frequency of train services at Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden and Slaithwaite.
SMART will be drafting a detailed response, setting out where we see limitations in the methodology and data and where appropriate challenging the conclusions reached regarding local train services at Slaithwaite and Marsden.