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‘Compelling’ business case for Leeds-York electrification

The £100m electrification of the Harrogate line would provide £400m of benefits for the economy, new analysis shows. 

A business case for the route was commissioned by Metro, North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and Harrogate Borough Council, and developed by WSP. 

Electrification would significantly reduce operating costs and result in faster journey times, the report found. It is forecast that the investment would result in the removal of over three million vehicle kilometres from the roads. 

The business case will be formally submitted to the DfT this week. 

Cllr Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for passenger transport, said: “The benefits of this proposal are obvious to anyone living in the area or using the existing line. Investment in this line will provide excellent value for money.” 

Metro chairman Cllr James Lewis added: “We've reached a point where services can't be improved without major infrastructure work. Electrification would bring more and more modern trains to this important inter-regional route, provide relief from overcrowding, provide an attractive and environmentally-friendly alternative for car drivers so reducing congestion and help the local economies along its route.” 

Cllr Alan Skidmore, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for transport, said the report “makes a compelling case for electrification” of the line. 

WSP project manager Mike Holmes said: “The business case for this upgrade supports current national policy objectives for a modern low cost, value for money railway and will deliver significant benefits to passengers, the client and the wider communities. 

“It was a challenging project from the offset with many competing priorities to be considered and the need to demonstrate a strong enough business case to justify the level of investment needed. The appraisal we conducted was in line with standard industry and government guidelines for transport investment to ensure stakeholder support.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at 

(Image shows Northern Class 150 Sprinter DMU 150214 at Hammerton, forming a York-Leeds Harrogate Line service, courtesy mattbuck4950, used here under a Creative Commons licence).


Ricp   24/10/2013 at 06:28

Like the Aire Valley lines to Ilkley, Skipton and Bradford, Harrogate is another line where traffic growth has outstripped expectations and the pacer diesels all too often used on the line. A 20 minute Leeds Harrogate service, with one train every hour going forward to York and even back to Leeds, forming a Leeds Northern Circle. Harrogate could become an isolated diesel island like Gospel Oak Barking. The sooner this line is wired, and a coherent policy is developed for stock cascades and new vehicles, the better.

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