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Discussion Starter #1
http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11697713.Masterplans_for_Bradford_s_two_main_rail_stations_expected_to_go_out_to_public_consultation_this_year/

At last an opportunity to bring the stations into the 21st century.

A mono rail linking the 2 stations for a start would be good.

for Foster SQ the council should purchase the Royal mail sorting office and develop the land around the station into one transport platform with stations, shops, taxi ranks, tourist infomation centre, pub and media centre so visitors to Bradford are greated with a favourable experience and a main gateway to the centre from Lower Kirgate

the interchange station also needs a revamp
 

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Now the plan to move the magistrates court next to the combined court has been scrapped, I'd like to see that spare bit of land used to extend the Interchange platforms under Bridge Street so that people exit into Exchange Square like they used to do. I think that would give people a much nicer welcome than the current exit which seems to resemble more of a market stall in its current configuration.
 

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Would surely have rather seen the creation of a Bradford Crossrail providing a direct link between Forster Square and Interchange stations which would surely make Bradford into more of an integral part of West Yorkshire's railway although no doubt Bradford Council, Metro etc will persist that there is no funding to go ahead with such a proposal even though there was until recently an ideal opportunity to construct such a line above the Westfield site and such a line was first suggested as far back as 1845 with plans to construct a line through Bradford in 1911 abandoned as a result of World War One.



Surely a Bradford Crossrail would have potentially done a lot to encourage development in Bradford.
 

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I don't really see how a crossrail line in Bradford would help all that much. The lines served out of Forster Square go to Leeds, which can already be accessed by the Caldervale line, and Ilkley/Skipton/further north, which aren't major destinations and don't really need through trains across Bradford to other final destinations. The only sort of possibly useful thing it could create would be a sort of loop for trains between Leeds & Bradford to circulate around, but even then having loop trains à la the underground Circle line (when it was a circle), has proved detrimental to service, with more bunching, and worse reliability. I can't help feeling that the Bradford crossrail thing is a bit of a non-issue.

Really a much better use of the money would be to electrify the Caldervale line and perhaps regenerate Bradford's stations, particularly the Interchange.
 

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The vast sum of money a bradford crossrail (or my pet idea, an aerial tram) would cost would be far better spent put towards an LBA rail link, the free city bus is a perfectly acceptable link between the 2 stations (and flexible, the route can evolve as the city does), though they really should run it in both directions, going all the way round the loop to get from Forster square to the interchange is a bit silly.
 

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I don't see too much need for a crossrail in Bradford - but isn't that the problem? That because Bradford has forever been the end of (two) lines, it has never had any people passing through it/interchanging? Everyone going to those stations are going to or from Bradford.

Meanwhile Leeds benefits from being at the hub of everything and having many people pass through.
 

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I don't think so, I think the reason that it has never been built is because of Bradford's location (no major population to the north-west), it would be essentially useless. If Bradford had crossrail it would still not be a major rail hub.
 

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When you look at the size of the old stations in photographs they were clearly important termini for a wider rail network that is long gone.

The only benefit crossrail would give is to enable direct services for stations on the Airedale/Wharfedale lines to Manchester/Huddersfield. As the Caldervale line takes a bit longer to get to Manchester from Bradford than from Leeds it's all a bit stupid. At least with two stations there's a bit of footfall for the city centre which wouldn't happen if there was only one station. Best spend the money upgrading the Caldervale line if you ask me. Oh and an upgrade to both stations to make you feel you've arrived somewhere significant rather than the current miserable welcome.
 

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I would have thought that the capacity of lines in the Bradford area would be increased if trains no longer had to reverse at Bradford Interchange and Forster Square stations with a crossrail link. Also I thought the potential pre WW1 idea of a crosscity link by the Midland Railway could have seen Bradford as a key stop on a London - Sheffield - Bradford - Carlisle - Glasgow route which could have been transformational for the image of Bradford as a city in the 20th and 21st centuries? Also the Beeching Axe could have easily seen the axing of the Shipley - Bradford Forster Square Line which could have hypothetically been saved had it ran through to Bradford Interchange and hence given the impression of a more important line. Certainly it looks good to fill in the gaps as opposed to leaving such gaps in place in perpetuity and it certainly has done Leeds a lot of good to see the railway gap in the city centre between Marsh Lane and City stations filled in in 1869.
 

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I think that an easier and cheaper way to increase capacity in Bradford would be to re-configure the existing stations. I doubt that if the MR had built the link that such a service would be that important and doubt that it would have lasted that long into the BR era, let alone the 21st century. Really all it'd be doing is filling in a gap, as you say, but without any tangible benefits. It's not really comparable to Leeds where a through line allows trains from Manchester/Liverpool/Huddersfield/Sheffield access York and the ECML to Newcastle as well as Hull.
 

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It doesn't make sense as a standalone project for the reasons mentioned.

However, with the increasing demand for capacity going west from Leeds and for interchange at Leeds station, it would make more sense if built as part of a programme along with:

1. Re-opening of the Thornhill Lees - Low Moor line (this would create a direct link between Wakefield Kirkgate and Bradford)

2. Re-quadrupling of the line between Holbeck Junction & Shipley (allowing a big increase in services on that line).

3. Electrification of Crofton Junction - Bradford, Wortley Junction - Bradford and the Caldervale line

4. Re-opening of the Bowling Curve (Laisterdyke - Low Moor).

You'd then have the ability to run direct services between points across West Yorks via Bradford, which would create new journey opportunities and ease congestion at Leeds.

e.g. Ilkley/Skipton - Huddersfield/Wakefield direct via Bradford.

You could also get freight coming down the S&C completely off the ECML, as instead of crossing over the flat junction at Leeds it could go via Bradford, Wakefield and Knottingley (from whence either north via Sherburn or south via Askern)

You could also improve journey times (and opportunities) by running Caldervale semi-fast services via the A&W east of Bradford (e.g. Leeds, Shipley, Bradford, Halifax, Hebden, Todmorden, Rochdale, Victoria, NlW, St Helens, Liverpool).

Lastly the effective repurposing of the line via Pudsey would allow it to be dedicated to stopping services, greatly increasing capacity and allowing the timetable to work with the opening of additional stations e.g. Laisterdyke, Armley Moor.

You'd also have a more reliable timetable as what are currently Leeds - Forster Square services would becoming Leeds - Bradford - Leeds 'loop' services, which would allow a more intensive service.
 

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I'd like to see Bradford Interchange and Forster Square upgraded into attractive places, with some form of segregated transport providing a shuttle between them (and perhaps linking to Westfield). This would enable a reliable change between Forster Square and Interchange to allow travel between Wharfe and Aire Valleys and Calder Valley, and reduce the number of passengers changing in Leeds. The alignment of this could come from above the rail platform, down the side of the leisure exchange, between Westfield and Little Germany and then into Forster Square. I think the pricing of journeys could provide incentive for people to use such a link... like now I have a zone 2-5 Metrocard - so I have to pay to travel through Leeds, so I have had many brisk walks from the Interchange to Forster Square to save a bit of money... some kind of frequent shuttle service would be better!

I think if Bowling Curve could be re-opened, then faster services between Leeds, Calder Valley line and Manchester could operate. I'd like to see Bradford Interchange as a terminus for fast services to the west to Manchester and Liverpool and to the east to Leeds, Hull and the North East, to compliment the existing Trans-pennine services via Huddersfield and new services via the Bowling Curve. This would mean very intense use of the line between Bradford and Leeds via New Pudsey though, but I'm sure there could be space / opportunities at stations for slow trains to be overtaken by fast trains (thinking if there were new stations at Armley and Laisterdyke).
 

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I like the idea outlined above by God's Own City, and it could certainly make a greater case for a central station, opposed to having one for the sake of itself, which is not a big selling point. That might see a chance of investment then if it made a significant contribution to easing railway congestion and increasing route possibilities, it's costs undoubtedly being huge though.

What I do wonder though, now that Westfield is in place, what route could the line possibly take? Could it still be hemmed in on Well Street and otherwise follow the path previously established in former plans for a Central Station and/or cross rail? Even if it was on a raised track, would it still fit?
 

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I like the idea outlined above by God's Own City, and it could certainly make a greater case for a central station, opposed to having one for the sake of itself, which is not a big selling point. That might see a chance of investment then if it made a significant contribution to easing railway congestion and increasing route possibilities, it's costs undoubtedly being huge though.

What I do wonder though, now that Westfield is in place, what route could the line possibly take? Could it still be hemmed in on Well Street and otherwise follow the path previously established in former plans for a Central Station and/or cross rail? Even if it was on a raised track, would it still fit?
I think the possibility is now lost I'm afraid. There probably wouldn't be enough room to pass tracks between the Broadway centre and Little Germany, and the costs to build over or under it would be huge. A shame really because on top of what GOC suggested, a London-Sheffield-Bradford-Carlisle-Glasgow service would be possible along with many other long distance services. And it would have the prospect of a Bradford-LBA heavy rail link more viable too, especially if it could have been connected with the Harrogate line and even onwards to the North East via Ripon (which has quite a campaign to get it re-opened).
 

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A shame really because on top of what GOC suggested, a London-Sheffield-Bradford-Carlisle-Glasgow service would be possible along with many other long distance services.
Possible, but not viable. A TOC or open access operator could have looked to run a London-Sheffield-Leeds-Carlisle-Glasgow service on existing lines. However, there has been no such proposition. Presumably this is because the demand for such a service is not there. If the demand isn't there to run it via Leeds, it won't be there to run it via Bradford.

Sections of the route may be viable though. Reinstating the Wortley Curve would be a relatively inexpensive way to provide quick, direct services to Bradford from Sheffield, Birmingham, London and so on.

And it would have the prospect of a Bradford-LBA heavy rail link more viable too, especially if it could have been connected with the Harrogate line and even onwards to the North East via Ripon (which has quite a campaign to get it re-opened).
The problem again is viability. The recent LBA transport study shows a rail link won't produce anywhere near enough passengers to justify the substantial costs involved. Any reopening campaign needs to address this fundamental issue and produce a realistic assessment of demand before it can be taken seriously.
 

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I don't think the issue is a lack of demand, more that without an upgrade of the line, you've got a massive weak link between the WCML and MML/ECMLs. What long distance operator would want to run regular services along the slow Settle-Carlisle line?
 

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