PASSENGERS on the Airedale railway line are facing another hike in fares – amid angry claims that peak-time services along the route are deteriorating.

From January 2, commuters will have to pay an average of 2.7 per cent more for tickets.

Train companies say this is the third time in a row that average fares have been held below the benchmark inflation measure on which rises are based – and that revenue is reinvested in the network.

But rail campaigners on the Airedale line say promised improvements have yet to materialise, and meanwhile problems with peak-time overcrowding and unreliable services are worsening.

“The services during peak times have been falling apart,” said Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users Group.

“If you board the Leeds train from Crossflatts onwards at the busiest times, you won’t get a seat and chances are the train will be running late. I have seen people left behind on platforms because there is no room.

“And with more and more housing being built, passenger figures are likely to increase.

“I can fully understand people feeling disgruntled at another rise in fares. It certainly won’t go down well with peak-time travellers.”

The latest announcement over fares comes as Network Rail warns of disruption ahead during the Christmas period due to ongoing work at Leeds Station. Platforms one to five will be shut on December 27, 28 and 29 as the scheme to build the new platform zero continues.

Network Rail says work has been planned to keep disruption to a minimum and that most services will still operate, using different platforms. However it advises passengers to check before they travel.

Mr Calow says the Leeds improvements will provide the capacity for longer trains on the Airedale line, but currently only Keighley and Skipton stations have platforms long enough to accommodate the six carriages.

“The work at Leeds is not due for completion until December 2021 so longer trains scheduled to be introduced this month have been postponed,” he added. “What’s disturbing is that all the proposed improvements are running late and we do not know at the moment whether platforms will be lengthened. While new trains we now have are nice, they don’t tackle issues on the Airedale line.”