New rail services are on track

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Rail services between Pontefract and Leeds will double from 2017 thanks to government funding.

There will be two trains an hour from Pontefract Monkhill to Leeds, calling at Wakefield Westgate.

The changes are being funded by the Department for Transport.

The improvements follow years of campaigning by members of the Campaign for Improved Rail Services Pontefract, Knottingley and Featherstone.

Pontefract Coun Celia Loughran, who is a member of the group, said: “I’ve been campaigning for improved rail services since I joined the council so this is great news that we’ve finally got them.

“While we have excellent links to the motorways, it has been a problem for far too long that people can’t access Pontefract by train easily.

“We hope these changes will lead to more tourists and visitors coming to Pontefract as well.”

Services from Knottingley to Leeds will also increase to two per hour and there will be an extension of services from Featherstone to Wakefield Westgate and Leeds.

Coun Loughran added: “Part of the work to regenerate Pontefract has to be improving transport links. These improvements are just another piece of the jigsaw but should considerably help draw people into town.”

Campaigners have vowed to continue fighting for improved disabled access at Monkhill station.

The Express reported last week the group’s concerns that disabled commuters are unable to get to the platform over the footbridge as there is no wheelchair access.