PLANS for extra train services from Malton have been cancelled until later next year.

Northern had planned to run every hour from York to Scarborough, alongside the TransPennine Express service, offering passengers a train every half-hour.

The move, which was expected to be in place by December, would have increased seats from 169 per hour to 450, with an extra 14 trains a day.

However, plans for the new service have now been pushed into next year, due to delays with infrastructure projects, with no firm date for introduction of the enhanced service.

Malton town councillor Martin Dales said: “As one of the many regular Malton station users at what is already a busy station it is regrettable that this excellent proposal is temporarily delayed.

“I hope Northern can give us the reassurance of a potential starting date as soon as possible

as the towns of Malton and Norton are endeavouring also to plan for the expected disruption with potentially four closures of the level crossing every hour between the two towns.”

Di Keal, Ryedale District Council, Liberal Democrat councillor, said: “The delay in increasing the train service is unfortunate for commuters as the more trains available, the more options people have to get out of their cars and use public transport instead reducing congestion and pollution levels.

“But it does give North Yorkshire County Council more time to take action on traffic congestion around Norton level crossing before the service increases.

“Ryedale district councillors were told final results of the county council’s long-awaited traffic modelling would be available this month - we are yet to see them.

“We now have a period of opportunity to get some changes on the ground and I would urge the county council to take urgent action to reduce congestion levels, starting with re-aligning the Church Street junction and introducing one-way systems.

“These are relatively low-cost solutions that would make a huge difference to the traffic chaos in Norton.”

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of Ryedale District Council, said: “The new franchise offers much-needed competition, extra flexibility and 14 extra trains a day.

“It is disappointing that Northern can’t tell us when the new trains will start operating.”

He added: “We need to know where we stand so authorities can plan effectively to mitigate any knock-on effects.

“Meanwhile, Ryedale District Council is looking to invest in improving facilities at Malton Station to make journeys as comfortable and easy as possible.”

A spokesman for Northern said: “Significant delays to infrastructure projects, as well as ongoing congestion in some areas and delay to the introduction of some of our new trains, mean we have had to reassess the introduction of our service enhancements.

“We want to ensure our customers never again face disruption like that seen following the May 2018 timetable and we will only introduce services if and when we, and our colleagues across the rail industry, are confident the infrastructure is able to support those enhancements.”