Stations that provide attractive, high-quality gateways
to West Yorkshire’s towns, cities and communities were among the rail ambitions
agreed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee today.
Better connectivity nationally through HS2 and the East
Coast mainline, across the north through a Northern Powerhouse route that
includes stops at Bradford and Leeds and regionally through local network
improvements were also identified as key elements of the county’s rail
narrative. And measures to improve journeys for passengers such as integrated
ticketing and fares, information and services, between rail journeys and with
other modes of transport, are also an important part of the story.
Committee members also agreed there is a need to work
with local rail franchise-holders Northern and TransPennine Express, Network
Rail and the wider rail industry to examine how these ambitions can be
West Yorkshire’s rail narrative is about providing for
growth in passenger and freight demand, as part of a wider multi-modal and
integrated “One System”, transport network.
More train services needed
Within the City Region, improved infrastructure and more
train services are needed to connect people with central hubs at Leeds, York,
Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Halifax and Leeds Bradford Airport where
economic activity and jobs are set to be increasingly located.
A new and radically upgraded Northern Powerhouse Rail
route serving Leeds, York and Bradford and an improved Calder Valley line would
mean better links with other city regions and large towns across the north. And
national rail connectivity through HS2 and the East Coast Main Line will mean
better links with the Midlands, the North East, South West, Scotland, East
Anglia, London and the continent. Creating a ‘Yorkshire Hub’ in Leeds will help
ensure those benefits are spread across the City Region.
Improving rail stations, their facilities and
opportunities to interchange between transport modes will enable stations to
become impressive gateways improving the welcome they provide as well as
providing improved passenger facilities.
Transport Committee Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield said:
“By efficiently connecting our town and city centres with
a wide range of communities across West Yorkshire, the City Region, other city
regions and nationally, rail has an important role to play in achieving our
Strategic Economic Plan’s vision of delivering ‘good’ growth that benefits everyone.
“Large and growing numbers of people are using our rail
network for sustainable commuting, business and leisure journeys and the level
of freight being moved by train is increasing. Seventy per-cent of journeys
between Shipley and Leeds are now made by rail.
“We want to ensure people right across the City Region
enjoy the same high quality of train travel people using those services between
Leeds, Shipley, Bradford Forster Square, Skipton and Ilkley. This includes
greater integration of tickets and fares, better provision of information where
and how people want it and more opportunity for simple interchange between
modes of transport.
“Our railway stations are the first impressions our towns
and cities give to passengers when they arrive, and we want them to be as
impressive and welcoming as possible, to business and leisure travellers alike.
And we need more new stations, for example at Elland and Thorpe Park, to build
upon what we’ve already achieved at Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall Forge and what
we will achieve when Low Moor station between Bradford and Halifax is completed
“If we are going to achieve all of these measures to
support growth that benefits everyone across the City Region, we will need to
work closely with Northern and TransPennine Express, Network Rail and the rest
of the rail industry.”
Among the significant measures the Combined Authority
will be seeking to achieve with rail industry partners are more frequent Sunday
services with timetables more like weekdays,
better links for Pontefract and the Five Towns area, an upgrade of the
Leeds, Settle, Carlisle and Glasgow route and four trains hourly between
Bradford and Manchester. Other proposals include more trains stopping at
Kirkstall Forge and Low Moor stations, trains running on Boxing Day, earlier
and later trains on some routes and Sunday trains between Leeds, Dewsbury,
Brighouse, Calder Valley and Manchester, and between Huddersfield and
Cllr Wakefield added:
“New, faster trains, measures to reduce overcrowding at
peak times and services to more places more often in the evenings and on
Sundays are already in the pipeline through the Northern and TransPennine
Express rail franchises introduced in April.
“We welcome these and other measures such as staff at
more stations, free Wi-Fi on trains and better customer information along with
Network Rail’s planned electrification of the cross-Pennine route and
improvements along the Calder Valley line.
“However, there are areas where the train operators’ and
Network Rails plans fall short of the Combined Authority’s aspirations, which
is why we have confirmed today that we will work with those organisations to
fill the gaps.”