Major rail improvement plans to be presented to councillors

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Councillors are to be told that major improvements are on the drawing board for rail lines in North Yorkshire.

"Over the next two years railways across the region will be transformed", said Graham North, North Yorkshire County Council's transport development officer, in a report to the authority's Thirsk and Malton area committee.

Transpennine have now introduced an early morning train from Scarborough to York, enabling passengers to reach London by 9 am.

A late night train from Scarborough is now running until after 10.30 pm to enable people to visit theatres and night spots in the resort.

Services between Scarborough and York will be stepped up from hourly to half hourly from December next year by Arriva Rail North.

"This will lead to the current seating capacity on the line increasing from 169 to 400 an hour in each direction and should significantly reduce overcrowding at peak times," said Mr North.

Malton, he said, had seen a 26% increase in passengers to 353,920 annually in the past decade, while new ticket vending machines have been introduced at the market town's station, along with cycle facilities.

At Thirsk there has been a 38% rise in train users to 223,610 a year, and next year the Thirsk Transpennine Express seating capacity on trains will rise from 169 to 300.

Mr North said First Transpennine Express' franchise on the Scarborough to York line, due to expire in March 2023, has the potential to be extended by two years.

He forecast that North Yorkshire businesses and residents will benefit from the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail and Transport for the North.

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