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Call to speed up Leeds Bradford Airport rail link build

Transport

Airport bosses have called for the construction date for Leeds Bradford parkway station to be brought forward.

The £23M project, which is expected to be completed by 2023, must also provide services four times an hour, a spokesman for the West Yorkshire airport said.

The station will be on the Leeds Harrogate line and was chosen as a cheaper and simpler option compared to building a station adjacent to the airport terminal “due to the challenging topography”, council documents said. 

A Leeds Bradford Airport spokesman said: “The obstacles to delivery are few, the train line exists, new rolling stock isn’t required, funding has been identified from the Leeds Transport Strategy, the foundations are in place to capitalise on the benefits the station could offer. The design, procurement and construction of the station needs to happen quicker however.

“More than this, if the station is to fully capitalise on the opportunity it presents, services need to run every 15 minutes.

“If we are to help reduce CO2 and NOx emissions and achieve true modal shift away from the car, then passengers need to know a train service is frequent as well as fast and reliable.

“The delivery of a 300-plus space park-and-ride facility at the station will further add to the wide ranging benefits of the scheme. This will significantly cut down on traffic congestion into Leeds with all the environmental benefits that come with this.”

Public transport options for passengers travelling to the airport are currently restricted to an infrequent bus service. There is an hourly bus service, taking about 50 minutes, linking the airport with Bradford Interchange station and a bus connection between Leeds Station every half an hour, with a journey time of about 25 minutes.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “Work on developing the proposals for the airport parkway station as part of the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme is progressing well with further details to be presented for public consultation later in the year.

“Leeds City Council is working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail, the Department for Transport and all key stakeholders including Leeds Bradford Airport on the project so we look forward to further positive discussions with the airport’s new owners shortly.”

The station will be funded using a portion of the £173.5M granted to the city following a decision by the Department for Transport not to proceed with the New Generation Transport trolleybus scheme in 2015, a  proposed 14.8km electric bus network powered by overhead cables through the city centre. The funding must be allocated to public transport spending by 2021. 

A further two new stations could be built using this ringfenced money. Proposals have been revealed for a station at the White Rose Shopping Centre while the other could serve the Thorpe Park business area on the outskirts of the city.

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