Tram-Train link to Leeds-Bradford International Airport on the cards?

At a meeting of the All Party Light Rail Group in January the current progress on the planning of a tram-train link serving Leeds-Bradford International Airport was outlined with cross party support from local MPs for the proposal. It was said that this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for a lasting infrastructure benefit as opposed to many of the short term road solutions already proposed.

Greg Mulholland – the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West – was on hand to give the update to the APLRG and it followed a working lunch attended by Norman Baker – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport – West Yorkshire MPs and local government representatives  to discuss a strategy for progressing the scheme. Also present at the meeting were Alec Shelbrooke MP (Conservative, Elmet and Rothwell) and Gerry
Sutcliffe (Labour, Bradford South) emphasising the cross party support for the proposal.

The Leeds City Region Transport Strategy in 2009 contained a proposal for the conversion of the Leeds-Harrogate-York line to tram-train operation, including a link to Leeds-Bradford International Airport. This was followed in 2012 by the Harrogate Line Strategy which proposed overhead electrification of the route with tram-train at either end of the route from the Airport via Horsforth to Leeds and Poppletonto York. A link from the Airport to Bradford via Guiseley is also under consideration.

After the meeting Alec Shelbrooke commented: “The APPLRG meeting was invaluable for getting all political parties together as well as the major stakeholders to highlight the united aim we have in securing a TramTrain link to LBIA for the benefit of Leeds, Bradford, West Yorkshire and The North. It is crucial we act quickly and with coordination to achieve this outcome and I look forward to leading this with Gerry Sutcliffe and Greg
Mulholland in the future.”

It is currently planned that a trial of tram-train operation in the UK will be undertaken between Rotherham and the Sheffield Supertram network with operation due to  commence in 2015. It is likely that if the Leeds-Bradford International Airport tram-train plan is progressed it will be after this has been proved to be a success.

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1 Response to Tram-Train link to Leeds-Bradford International Airport on the cards?

  1. David H Cox says:

    I was brought up in Leeds in the 1940s and have seen the great development of the city since the 2nd World War. With the increasing population and road, rail and air passengers, the opportunity to improve the road and rail network round north Leeds has been sadly neglected. The ringroad which I believe was built in the 1930s has become overloaded and in many places it is still a single carriageway as originally built in the days of the Austin 7. The A65 Leeds-Otley road which serves the airport indirectly, has become notorious for its inadequacy, the endless ribbon development, the large number of speed cameras and the traffic jams. the Bradford-Harrogate road has similar problems.
    Leeds needs new rail and road connections to the airport. A rail/tram system to the airport from Leeds and Bradford centres would be a start, and hopefully take some pressure off the inadequate roads. The rail/tram should not use existing roads but have its own trackbed, elevated or undergrounded as necessary. The target travelling time from either city centre should be 10 minutes.
    Also needed is a new northern ring motorway from the A1 via the Crossgates junction of the M1 round the northern fringes of Leeds, passing the airport and encircling the Leeds/Bradford connurbation area. This should be feasible as it would mostly lie within the extended northern boundaries of both cities where the population density is less.
    Without major investment in such improvements, the airport and existing road network will be stifled.

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