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Transport for the North discovers the existence of Bradford

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Bradford has been ignored by 'Transport for the North'

Having been mostly ignored by Transport for the North hitherto, Bradford, England’s fourth-biggest city, ‘could now see a new Transpennine line’ routed through it, the Financial Times reported. The story also mentioned TfN’s senseless “60/30 rule” for city connectivity.

[Bradford in the frame for ‘northern powerhouse’ rail boost, FT, 15 Oct 2016]

“Bradford is a premier league city that just happens to be close to Leeds,” said [TfN chief John] Cridland in an interview. “If you wanted to build a new line you are faced with a number of choices. One would be a fast link to Manchester through Bradford. What would be the economic impact of that? There is an opportunity but there is a price tag.” The fastest existing line goes through Huddersfield further south.

TfN has a 60/30 rule, he said. It wanted six trains an hour between Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield taking 30 minutes to get between any two of the cities. Then four trains an hour between Leeds and Newcastle taking 60 minutes, and two between Sheffield and Hull taking 60 minutes. That would almost halve current journey times.

Mr Cridland said TfN, now a statutory body representing 19 regional transport authorities, would lay out plans for up to £30bn of rail and road improvements to improve productivity, which is 15 per cent lower per head in the north than the south-east.


Written by beleben

October 17, 2016 at 4:33 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Interesting. A Manchester Victoria-Rochdale-M62 corridor-Leeds fast link would halve the rail time between these two city centre through-stations. Add another section to join Sheffield Midland and a Bradford City through-station (next Westfield) to the link and you would have a Northern Cities Crossrail that took half an hour out of cross-Pennine train times and joined up a northern economic zone half as big again as Birmingham:
    Could they be re-shaping the HS2 turkey?

    Michael Wand

    October 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm

  2. The Golden opportunity to build a new, single, Bradford station embedded in a retail and commercial development (like City Thameslink) would have been much easier to grasp if it had taken place before the Hall Ings site was redeveloped. However it may not be lost, as presumably the undercroft and ‘trench’ from the old Hall Ings underpass remain. Maintaining the downhill gradient from the Low Moor Tunnel through Bowling and under the former Exchange Station should put the railway under the centre of Bradford and in line to rise up through the strip of land that was the East side of Forster Square Station, and connect with the faster line to Leeds via Shipley.

    This single link immediately improves the Manchester-Rochdale-Bradford-Leeds journey times by eliminating the reversals at Bradford and begins to put in place the resilience we have in the similar geography of Central Scotland where we have 10-12 trains per hour each way between Edinburgh and Glasgow, using 5 route options plus additional connections via a 6th route – the fastest trains take 48 minutes and most do the journey in under 80. The massive benefit however is that one route can have the service blocked but the others keep running.

    A major benefit from this link is that the Leeds-Bradford shuttle services can loop through Bradford converting hundreds of train minutes lost by the 2 separate services terminating and reversing, in to revenue earning, moving trains. A second benefit is that engineering work can take place by closing sections of route that can be served from either end. (Leeds Ilkley/Shipley/Bradford & Calderdale -Leeds / Airedale -Leeds)

    A through Bradford Station also offers the open access service, and the East Coast service terminating at Bradford, the option to run through to Skipton, and beyond. From Doncaster, the distance to the Scottish Border via the late-built (and thus better aligned) Midland Main Line to Carlisle. Even with the massive ‘penalty’ of a 60mph line speed it can still be faster to get to Leeds from Edinburgh via Carlisle (and would be even faster if the Borders Railway reconnected) At a stroke a reserve route that could enable major ECML works to take place with minimal inconvenience, and deliver more paths for North-South traffic. Oh and it consolidates operating resources, as well as putting the main station in the heart of the city – a travelator link in an additional tunnel could connect the major bus interchange with the new station, and commercial district, as well as providing the evacuation link.

    A second reinstatement should be the Colne-Skipton link. This would offer a dramatic reduction in Preston-Leeds journey times, but as I noted from the current timetabling, I can get a much later connection between Skipton and Glasgow by CYCLING (45-60 minutes) to Colne than using the current S&C offering. Just 12 miles delivers a Northern by-pass route and the option of Leeds-Lancaster/Morecambe via Preston, as well as via Hellifield & Carnforth. Demand can be tested by putting the bus link in the rail timetable

    Overlaying the Central Scotland model, then having a portfolio of cross-Pennine routes, can deliver 10-12 tph with the ability to carry out major maintenance or handle service disruption. Leeds does pose a concern with just one station and a cluster of all routes on just 2 approaches. but options may include re-using part of the Wellington Street viaduct to then build additional platforms over or under the River Aire, or the adjacent Leeds station car park. From the South the Midland avoiding line viaduct remains, and if a Leeds tram-train arrives the local services from the East could divert on street to the city centre loop via the bus station and Headrow, coming off the main railway via the old station site (Shannon Street) and restoring the 4-track railway out through Crossgates.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    October 18, 2016 at 4:45 am

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