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Metro-style service mooted to connect Leeds and Bradford

Bradford interchange

Implementing Northern Powerhouse Rail could unlock the potential for a metro-style service between Leeds and Bradford by upgrading existing lines, according to Bradford District Council.

In its Northern Powerhouse Rail Bradford Growth Strategy, the council has set out several possible rail upgrades to improve public transport between the two Yorkshire cities.

Transport for the North’s £39bn plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail – connecting Leeds and Bradford with Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Hull – was put forward as part of the transport body’s 30-year £70bn strategic plan in January. 

To coincide with the introduction of Northern Powerhouse Rail – which will connect Leeds and Bradford on new tracks – the council said that it was possible to upgrade an existing line between the two cities, as well as the option to serve other areas along a new route.

The report states: “With the introduction of Northern Powerhouse Rail, there will be an opportunity to review and optimise the role of the Calder Valley Line.

“With Northen Powerehouse Rail picking up the majority of strategic traffic between Manchester, Bradford and Leeds, there may be an opportunity to operate the Leeds to Bradford section as a metro-style local service with high frequencies to all stations.

“However, this should not be to the detriment of the longer distance strategic journeys that will remain from stations to the west of Bradford towards Leeds (for example Halifax and Hebden Bridge).”

Bradford Leeds route map

Bradford Leeds route map

Source: NPR Bradford Growth Strategy

The report also outlines the “potential to serve new stops” between Leeds and Bradford as part of a route upgrade.

The possibility of a mass transit network connecting Leeds with Bradford has been tabled before.

The report adds that Bradford Council is working in conjunction with Leeds counterparts in order to improve both cities.

“Developing the future transport network for Bradford cannot be undertaken in isolation,” the report reads. “Indeed, Bradford is currently working closely with WYCA and other delivery partners to progress proposals for a holistic mass transit network across the Leeds City Region.

“Central to these proposals are a number of inclusive growth corridors including Leeds to Bradford, South Bradford to Central Bradford and North Bradford to Central Bradford.

“The rationale for the Leeds to Bradford corridor is addressing a capacity challenge between the cities, providing local connectivity benefits for communities to the east of Bradford. This will supplement the strategic offer of Northern Powerhouse Rail which will provide a fast and frequent link between the two cities.”

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