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Discussion Starter #1
I thought it would be better to have a seperate thread for City Region transport where it doesn't concern Leeds itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Article concerning the re-opening of a line between the York sub region and Hull & Humber Ports City Region:

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/localnews/Meeting-with-Minister-could-drive.5203928.jp

24 April 2009
Alexandra Wood

A CAMPAIGN to reopen the railway line between York and the East coast should gather steam today at a meeting with Government Minister, Lord Andrew Adonis.

Following his nationwide fact-finding tour, the Minister is travelling to Hull to hear details of a plan to re-open the link providing a direct route connecting Hull and the East Riding to the East Coast mainline.

The line would take commuters off the A1079 and link Hull and York, with fast connections to Driffield and Bridlington.

The original line closed in 1965, following the Beeching report.

Today's meeting is the first time key decision-makers will be meeting under the same roof, giving campaigners hope that finally the plans will go forwards.

Campaign chairman George McManus said: "This is a red letter day for the campaign.

"It is fantastic that Lord Adonis is taking time out to listen to our plans. I will be explaining the background and detail of our plans to Lord Adonis which will hopefully influence other attendees which include Yorkshire Forward and Network Rail.

"To drive this project forward we need a sympathetic hearing from government and other decision makers in order to secure a detailed engineering study which will form the basis for our business plan.

"We know we have massive public, business and local authority support and we are keen that the minister should hear this on the ground in our region."

The study would cost around £500,000.

Mr McManus, who co-founded the Minsters' Rail Campaign in 2001, said reopening the line was a "no brainer" with estimates that the line would carry 2m passengers a year.

The main road link to York, the A1079 contains a section between Market Weighton and Hull which has been assessed by road safety experts as the seventh most dangerous in the country.

Earlier this month eight people, including three children, were hurt in a four vehicle pile-up on the A1079, at Dunnington. One woman suffered serious injuries and had to be cut free from the wreckage of her car.

He said: "Every time someone gets killed it costs the local economy £1.5m. If the A1079 was a railway it would have been closed down years ago.

"York gets 5m visitors a year but Hull and the East Riding only gets 500,000. One of the main reasons people give us for not coming on holiday is the lacy of a train service.

"If you go to Bridlington from York you have to go to Hull via Selby – going round three sides of a big square. We are supposed to be helping people in Bridlington and this would reduce journey times from Bridlington to York by 60 to 70 per cent."

The Minister completed a week-long, 2,000-mile tour of Britain's railways on Saturday.

At present, 95 per cent of the former track is under crops or open countryside. Five per cent has been built on in areas such as Pocklington, but campaigners think a diversion is possible via the old airfield.

The campaign has backing from members of all political parties and is supported by all county and unitary authorities affected by the proposals, including East Riding Council. York, Ryedale and East Riding Council have all agreed to protect the potential route. Only two houses in Market Weighton would have to come down.

A report by consultants Carl Bro, which was commissioned by the local authorities and supported by the Countryside Commission, concluded the proposals were feasible and supported by sound economic argument.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/ocalnews/4305298.In_search_of_the_missing_link_____the_fight_to_reopen_a_railway/
In search of the missing link – the fight to reopen a railway

17:36
Monday 20th April 2009

The campaign to reopen the railway line between Skipton and Colne is reaching a critical point as organisers await a meeting with a Government minister. Can they succeed? Peter Greenwood looks into their case.

If you are too young to have seen The Beatles, you’ll never have been able to buy a ticket to ride the 15-minute train from Skipton to Colne. The line shut down in 1970, the year that the Fab Four split up, and for many the two events were equally sad.

These days the journey – via both of Bradford’s two stations and Accrington -- takes an average of three hours, so you just wouldn’t try it; you’d go by car or bus.

The 11.5-mile railway link between Skipton and Colne had survived the Beeching cuts in the sixties, but its subsidy was withdrawn and it hit the buffers in 1970. But if it was reopened, would you use it?

If it was possible to get to Blackpool, Manchester or its airport by train without going the long way round, would you?

And would more of the good people of Lancashire and Cheshire come flooding in to see the delights of Craven if that “missing link” was reinstated?

These are hypothetical questions, of course, aren’t they? Nobody reopens railway lines these days do they? Well, they just possibly might.

The soaring cost of road-building and the changing attitude to carbon emissions are strengthening the hand of a quite extraordinary bunch of people who have pushed a rail link right up the agenda. So much so that SELRAP (Skipton East-Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) is on a high.

You could say it has built up a full head of steam, except that these are not your archetypal train buffs pining for a return to the soot-stained days of Close Encounter.

Andy Shackleton, SELRAP’s liaison officer, says: “We’re not talking about heritage steam trains, we’re talking about linking Skipton with Colne with a trip that takes just 15 minutes. We’re talking about linking Skipton with Manchester in one-and-a-quarter hours, eventually.”

His group has fought a formidable campaign, which has snowballed into a powerful lobby. SELRAP has the support of two cabinet ministers, two ministers, 146 MPs, 46 MEPs, 57 peers and 193 councils across North and West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.The latter includes North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council and Skipton Town Council.

The group’s patrons include five MPs, five MEPs, a bishop and a businessman and its support comes from across the political spectrum. And now the group is awaiting an imminent meeting with Rail Minister Lord Adonis, confident he will promote the case to Secretary of State Geoff Hoon.

All the preparatory work has been done. Consultants have produced a report showing costings and feasibility. Its key messages were that the trackbed had been kept safe from development; there would be strategic and regional value for North and West Yorkshire, Leeds, Manchester and central Lancashire; the reinstatement is feasible at a cost of £43 million for single track or £81 million for double; projected passenger figures stack up; it would be value for money, reduce road accidents, bring environmental benefits and give help to areas of high deprivation.

Network Rail would provide no stumbling block. It has said: “In a scenario of high mode-shift from road to rail, additional sources of investment funds could become available, in which case the route between Colne and Skipton could be a candidate for addition to the network.” In other words, if there is the political will, the line can reopen. And Network Rail added, more succinctly: “If this line was open we would be using it.”

Both Lancashire County Council and North Yorkshire County Council support reopening the line, which passes south of Broughton, north of Elslack, south of Thornton-in-Craven and up to the Lancashire border and Earby. The route is mostly still free from development and both councils say their policy is to promote public transport at the expense of cars.

Support for SELRAP is immense, but there are dissenting voices, particularly in South Craven. Cars and trucks heading from North and West Yorkshire to Lancashire clog up the road through Cross Hills and Glusburn – and a tedious drive that can be, across railway level crossings and through bottlenecks.

A long-mooted single-carriageway Colne-Earby bypass, further along the road into Lancashire, would not stop the jams at the Yorkshire end, though its adherents prefer the idea to getting the trains running again.

Coun Roger Nicholson, chairman of Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council, has said: “We shouldn’t be talking about railways until the highway authorities look at the roads first. My main concern is the volume of HGVs going through our village. At the moment, our roads can’t cope with it.”

Philip Barrett, a local county, district and parish councillor, has said that while the chances of a Glusburn bypass are slim, a bypass for the A56 from Colne, past Lancashire villages Foulridge, Kelbrook and Earby and through Thornton-in-Craven in North Yorkshire, is still a possibility.

“Although local bypass schemes have gone out of favour with the Government, the bypass in East Lancashire has been on the cards for a long time and it’s time that people living in the villages along there are asked about a railway or a bypass,” he has said.

“It’s all right for local MPs to jump on the ‘green wagon’ to support the railway, but you have to think about it realistically and everything has to be taken into account. Finance is a big thing and road infrastructure doesn’t seem to rank on the one-item agenda of pressure group Selrap.

“The potential reinstatement of that line will have a negligible influence on improvement of traffic in South Craven. For all intents and purposes, the A6068 is an HGV route. It’s a quicker rat-run for HGVs coming from the M65 and it’s flatter than the A56.”

But David Curry, MP for Skipton, has said the railway and highways issues are separate. “I’ve supported the railway from the beginning, but there are still serious questions about it,” he has said.

“We have to ask how important is it to Lancashire and Yorkshire? It’s a big-ticket item and one that’s not going to be delivered quickly. The railway link would only get built if it was going to have a positive impact on economic development. SELRAP has made a valiant attempt to get that argument across. They’re not just a bunch of trainspotters, they are serious people.”

Mr Curry said the choice between a railway link or a bypass was a dilemma facing both Lancashire and North Yorkshire County Councils, which have to decide transport priorities. But county councils, traditionally, have favoured roads over railways and, although North Yorkshire and Lancashire have said they support the rail link, it’s not their top priority.

But there’s a loophole for SELRAP: the Government can decide that a transport project is a special case and push it through, past the county councils, and that’s the door SELRAP is pushing at.

SELRAP’s Mr Shackleton says: “A railway line never gets to the top of the heap with county councils because they are more interested in roads, even in these days of concern about climate change.

“But there is now a precedent for the Secretary of State intervening. Rail Minister Lord Adonis has just bypassed the system and moved a rail project in Swindon to the top of the priority list. We are awaiting an appointment to see him.

“We know some people worry that if the line reopens, we won’t get the bypass. But we’re not campaigning against that road, we just think it will never get built.

“It may be the case that, if the rail line reopens, the bypass will be unnecessary. Taking the train will be faster, more comfortable and more convenient.”

He talks of the traffic from Leeds to Lancashire, too. At the moment, that adds to the jams around Cross Hills. The trains could take many of those people and some of the freight off the roads.

“As the roads system gets worse and worse, just think, the people of East Lancashire could have a trip to the Dales without having to drive,” says Mr Shackleton. “It’s the missing link in our rail system.”

Should the line be rebuilt – “WHEN, not IF,” he says – unsurprisingly, he would prefer the more expensive double track option. The “worst scenario” capital cost of that would be £81 million, with the cost of electrification to be added. There would be ongoing costs of servicing and rolling stock.

It’s a lot of money. And Britain’s railways are subsidised to the tune of £5 billion a year, though other European countries pay relatively more to provide a better service.

“But we’re bailing out the banking system and that costs many, many times £5 billion,” says Mr Shackleton.

Then he gets technical. The Department For Transport calculates the desirability of projects using Benefit Cost Ratios (BCRs). This measures a scheme’s unavoidable costs set against the total benefits. The maximum BCR for a single-track line could be 2.43:1 or, as Mr Shackleton puts it: “In other words, for every pound spent on reopening the route and providing train services on it, the quantifiable benefits for doing so would be £2.43.”

Even the double track option would have a BCR of 1.53:1, says the consultants’ report. And the figures include a 66 per cent “loading” – a kind of contingency to allow for inflation and unexpected extra costs. Passenger estimates are calculated at 565,000 a year by the year 2014 and 759,000 a year by 2024 – generating an income of £2 million.

There is a well-documented link between upgrading rail lines and regeneration, says SELRAP. “If you go down the Aire Valley line and look out of the train window there are cranes everywhere,” says Mr Shackleton. “But not if you travel from Skipton to Colne and beyond into East Lancashire. The rail link would bring more prosperity to the area.

“People in East Lancashire would have access to Craven for work, education and leisure – and vice versa. You also have to take into account the fact that additional employment and visitor spend in the region are worth millions.”

And opening up the Dales to train passengers from Lancashire would take cars off Craven roads and boost the local economy. Conversely, for overseas visitors to the Dales, a day out in Blackpool or Manchester becomes more realistic.

“Reopening the line would also reduce CO2 emissions, reduce the number of road accidents and deliver environmental and safety benefits of between £7 million and £12 million,” says Mr Shackleton.

Then there’s the savings to be made by taking traffic off the roads. The Confederation of British Industry calculates that road delays cost UK business £20 billion a year.

Alan Beswick, director of JMP, the company that carried out the feasibility study for SELRAP, has told them: “You appear to have a business case, even based on some deliberately conservative assumptions.” Andy Shackleton hasn’t finished putting his case yet, though.

“There are wider benefits, including social inclusion,” he says. “Of the 279 local government wards in the area bounded by Shipley, Skipton and Blackburn, 148 are among the most deprived 25 per cent nationally. And poor transport provision reinforces social exclusion and undermines the quality of life.

“In deprived areas – which includes rural as well as urban areas – road accidents and emissions are an issue. More people don’t have cars and there are problems with access to health care and education. For instance, the rail link would open up Craven College to people in East Lancashire.”

Indeed, the college’s principal, Alan Blackwell, has said: “The college believes that the twin demands of an ever-increasing consumer choice and environmental factors are making an overwhelming case for the line to be reopened.”

Robert Heseltine, a Craven district councillor as well as a county councillor, is typical of the many who agree. He wrote to SELRAP: “I have strongly supported your campaign since its inception and now, formally and publicly and in writing, pledge my full support. I would stress my support is because of the trans-regional economic importance of this strategic rail link.”

Westminster supporters include Blackburn MP and Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who said: “I strongly support the reopening of the Colne/Skipton railway line and, along with the other East Lancashire MPs, will do all I can to help.”

Whether the Government’s attitude to the recession will mean fewer big public projects, to save money, or more, to create jobs, Andy Shackleton is bullish.

“SELRAP has, so far, met every specification required,” he says. “We’ll get there. It’s just a matter of time.”
 

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An alternative (and arguably better) route from Skipton & Craven to Manchester would be via a Bradford station to station link then via Halifax, the Bradley curve (which needs dualling) and Huddersfield to Manchester Piccadilly/Airport. (Regardless of a link, I would have thought that was a better long term Transpennine route for Bradford).

A Bradford link, which I was originally sceptical about, could open up a number of interesting options. The trouble is, looking at Bradford city centre on Google Earth, it's hard to see a viable overground route, and an underground route would be very expensive and disruptive vis-a-vis gas, electricity, water pipes/cables, building foundations etc., and the short distance would probably make going deeper impracticable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In relation to Manchester, you are probably right. But in extending the economic reach of Leeds, it would be good. I know that there are people who drive from the Colne area to Skipton to get the train into Leeds daily. If there was a direct rail link between Central Lancashire and Leeds it would boost that area significantly.
 

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Skipton-Colne, if reopened as a double track line through to Blackburn, could be a huge boost to the local economy. It would provide much improved journey times to East & Central Lancashire, as well as give a much better catchment area for commuting into Leeds.

Other reopenings that would prove massive boosts to the area:

Church Fenton-Wetherby-Tadcaster-Harrogate-Ripon-Northallerton

would provide a quicker route from Leeds to Northallerton, and offer the chance for Northern to run a 'local' service to Middlesbrough, which is very poorly served, as well as giving Harrogate a much better connection as a junction.

I'd really like to think reopening Skipton-Ilkley-Otley-Harrogate was a possibility, as, coupled with the above, it would give a route from Central lancs to north yorks completely avoiding Leeds and Manchester.

Additionally, I'd like to see the 'Metro' brand properly spread out in the Red/Gold livery for all W.Yorks services, with routes such as Leeds-Knaresborough, Leeds-York, Leeds-Halifax and Leeds-Huddersfield all being electrified, so the not particularly pleasant pacers can be replaced with EMUs such as these:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2416956562/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattingham/1991022454/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattingham/304401765/

This would bring the 'sparks effect' to the region, as well as making trains quicker, quieter, cleaner and generally more attractive to commuters.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Skipton-Colne, if reopened as a double track line through to Blackburn, could be a huge boost to the local economy. It would provide much improved journey times to East & Central Lancashire, as well as give a much better catchment area for commuting into Leeds.

Other reopenings that would prove massive boosts to the area:

Church Fenton-Wetherby-Tadcaster-Harrogate-Ripon-Northallerton

would provide a quicker route from Leeds to Northallerton, and offer the chance for Northern to run a 'local' service to Middlesbrough, which is very poorly served, as well as giving Harrogate a much better connection as a junction.

I'd really like to think reopening Skipton-Ilkley-Otley-Harrogate was a possibility, as, coupled with the above, it would give a route from Central lancs to north yorks completely avoiding Leeds and Manchester.

Additionally, I'd like to see the 'Metro' brand properly spread out in the Red/Gold livery for all W.Yorks services, with routes such as Leeds-Knaresborough, Leeds-York, Leeds-Halifax and Leeds-Huddersfield all being electrified, so the not particularly pleasant pacers can be replaced with EMUs such as these:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2416956562/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattingham/1991022454/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattingham/304401765/

This would bring the 'sparks effect' to the region, as well as making trains quicker, quieter, cleaner and generally more attractive to commuters.
I think most would agree with the above.

I completely back the Skipton-Colne link. It makes absolute sense to do this- Central Lancashire must be one of the most deprived city regions, and its poor transport links are partly accountable. If it had a good link with a massive economic centre like Leeds it would benefit that part of the North West hugely, as well as benefitting Leeds City Region itself.

Church Fenton-Wetherby if not Wetherby-Harrogate-Northallerton would be good. It currently takes far too long to get from Wetherby to the City- significantly longer than it does from many parts of the City Region. Tram-train might be helpful in achieving this.

I don't think Skipton-Harrogate will happen, as I don't think there is much demand for it. A 90 minute frequency bus service is only just sustainable between Skipton and Harrogate, and that is subsidised by NYCC. It's very unlikely Addingham-Ilkley and Otley-Ilkley could reopen because the line has been built on. Of course new line could be built but would it really be worth it? I suppose it could provide a relief route to the Airedale line if it becomes very congested.

Horsforth-Otley may be possible though, and should certainly be investigated. To reach the City from Otley takes far too long because of having to crawl through Headingley. For most of the route, a rail line runs parallel and could be very effective in reducing congestion in North West Leeds.

The Metro brand should be expanded to all parts of the City Region. Now that it extends outside of West Yorkshire, I think we should try to avoid referring to it as 'West Yorkshire Metro' too. I would like to see Metro liveried trains and stations, but this is unlikely as the opposite has been happening. Most trains are now Northern branded, and Metro branded station signs have been replaced with Northern branded station signs. Massive step backwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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It appears that a the City Region are going to act fast to try and make sure LCR doesn't lose out on HSR.
I'm not sure how much success lobbying will have on that, or what argument Leeds could make that would see it as a prime beneficiary of High Speed Rail.

Will be interesting to see if it does have any effect.
 

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Indeed given the remit of HSR2 was to look at a line to Brum then continuing along the existing infrastructure north, ensuring that in the future it will be possible if people chose to join up across to Leeds.

Must be incredibly unlikely that HSR trains will be heading to Leeds for a very long time, but as Cher says, interesting to see how they are 'lobbying'.
 

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a high speed ECML makes far more sense than going west coast - much easier to get to Scotland that way.
 

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a high speed ECML makes far more sense than going west coast - much easier to get to Scotland that way.
But getting to Scotland isn't the issue that's driving the investment. Relieving capacity on the lines out of London is. Since the WCML is predicted to run out of capacity earlier than the ECML the plan is to relieve it by building a supplementary route on a western alignment.

That's why I don't see Leeds lobbying the DfT/HS2 is going to make much difference.
 

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does that mean an ordinary train ticket to Skipton or Harrogate will be any cheaper now?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
No it is only applicable to season tickets for the time being. Metro have made it clear this is the first stage though, and want to expand it more. NYCC are against a City Region ITA though so it's unclear as to how this could progress, and how quickly it might happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have no idea. It frustrates me too, which is why I hope LD replace them in June- doubt it will happen with the strong Conservative rural areas away from Harrogate & Knaresborough.

I suppose they just want to keep as much power as they can in Northallerton. Maybe they feel they would have to be accountable to people who would complain about cheaper Metro rail (and eventually bus) fares in Harrogate and Skipton who are under the same council as those who don't benefit in Scarborough or Northallerton.

North Yorkshire is a ridiculous county- it's far too big for it's own good and clearly has three parts to it; the commuter belt and urban areas in the south, the rural expanses in the north and east, and the Yorkshire coast that has stronger links to the Tees Valley and East Yorkshire/Hull. It should be broken up for administrative purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Doesn't specify where in particular:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/8054513.stm
Bus company plans to cut services

First Bus plans a 6% cut in services mainly at weekends and evenings.

The travel company First says it plans to make a 6% cut in its bus services across West Yorkshire from mid-July.

The announcement has led to claims that some communities could be isolated and passengers will be inconvenienced.

Chris Greaves, Chairman of West Yorkshire Metro, said more people would use cars at a time when the government was pushing public transport.

First said it had to structure its business to meet the demand of its customers in the current climate.

Mr Greaves added there was no justification for the cuts, which would also put other people off using the buses.

"People will not use the bus if it doesn't provide the right service at the right price and at the right time," he said.

Most of the cuts are planned for evenings and weekends but Metro says that could mean that 14% of passengers will desert the network completely.

Dave Alexander, Managing Director of First in West and North Yorkshire said: "In some areas of West Yorkshire, and on some routes, we are seeing a decline in the number of people using our services and therefore we have to make changes so as to maintain the commercial viability of these services.

"During the last 12 months First invested in excess of £35m in its business in the region and has committed to a further £12m in the current year.

"We have sent our proposals to Metro well in advance of any changes."
 

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Discussion Starter #19
http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/business-news/Improvements-at-station-.5277087.jp
Improvements at station
18 May 2009

NETWORK Rail is carrying out a £2.5m improvement programme at a West Yorks station.

Work is being carried out throughout May and June in and around Halifax station. The projects include renewal of the station's canopy and footbridge, repair of ironwork and timberwork, new glazing and lighting and re-painting, and track work.

Warrick Dent, area general manager for Network Rail, said: "I want to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out these works which will make a real difference to the station."

The work will affect services. On Saturdays and Sundays from 16 May to 26 July no trains will run from Halifax. Trains will be diverted and rail replacement bus services will serve Halifax station.
 
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