Free parking at railway stations could hit the buffers as train bosses seek to boost revenue.

Steeton & Silsden on the Airedale line is among 18 sites across West Yorkshire where charges are set to be introduced, it is claimed.

John Grogan, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, said he had learned of the proposal – which would take effect this summer – from sources within Northern Rail and the Department for Transport.

“They have informed me that, as part of a deal to extend the franchise period of the rail company to 2016, savings are being proposed which will include car parking charges at many stations which are currently free,” he said.

“These are likely to bring small amounts of revenue but could cause traffic chaos in places like Steeton & Silsden. Hard-pressed commuters will seek to park in neighbouring streets to the station to avoid the charges.”

He added: “We need to be encouraging commuters on to Yorkshire’s trains, not trying to fleece them to prop up the profits of Northern Rail.

“Rail passengers need to speak out now because the final decision is likely to be made in the corridors of Whitehall in the very near future.”

Parking at Steeton & Silsden station has long been a problem, with demand far outweighing the 200-or-so spaces.

Tim Calow, chairman of Aire Valley Rail Users Group, said it was concerned about any measures to put up the cost to commuters, but admitted parking was an issue along the Airedale line.

“If such changes are implemented we will be looking to see considerable investment for our line and services.”

Northern Rail confirmed it was looking at ways of reducing costs, but declined to be drawn on whether that would include the scrapping of free parking.

“We continue to have constructive discussions with the Department for Transport and Rail North on what they want to happen in the new franchise agreement for Northern between April 2014 and February 2016,” said a spokesman.

“As part of those discussions, we have been asked to provide proposals that would reduce the cost to the taxpayer of running the railway as well as providing better facilities and information for Northern customers.

“The details of the new franchise agreement are still being finalised and we cannot comment further until it is signed.”