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Leeds trolleybus resurrected

The coalition government has reversed another of its early stops on a transport scheme and given the green light to the Leeds Trolleybus scheme.

In a statement from the Department for Transport, the £250M scheme transport secretary Justine Greening approved central government spending of £173.5M towards the cost. The remaining £76.5M will come from local authority funding.

Subject to statutory consents being granted work will start in 2016 with the trolleybus fully operational in 2018.

The DfT said that the “state of the art” public transport system, understood to be the first modern trolleybus in the UK, was expected to generate 4,000 new jobs and boost the West Yorkshire economy.

“Investment on this scale in precisely this kind of infrastructure is a recognition of how crucial Leeds and Yorkshire are to the long-term success of the British economy,” said Greening.

About the trolleybus

When the trolleybus system is completed it will run from Holt Park in the north to Stourton in the south, linking with two park and ride sites. The trolleybus will operate in designated road lanes along more than 40% of its 14km length.

In addition to the trolleybus, the Department is funding: two new railway stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge; the A65 Quality Bus Corridor, which will be completed shortly, and a new southern pedestrian entrance to Leeds railway station.

The Leeds New Generation Trolleybus is the first modern trolleybus proposal in the UK although they are commonplace in Europe. A trolleybus has many features of a tram – overhead wires, similar vehicle quality – but does not run on rails and so is cheaper and faster to construct.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think 'commonplace in Europe' is a bit of an exaggeration. I know they exist in Zurich (alongside trams) and saw them in Salzburg a few years back. I'm only aware of 2 systems in Germany, compared with 64 tram/light rail systems. But the UK has always led the world in contrariness. Given how jammed our road systems are, it's difficult to see what trolleybuses will do to help, especially as 60% of the route is on shared roadspace. And will they be the despised 'bendy-buses' that Boris has just wasted large sums of money on eliminating from London?

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