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Leeds could get tram-train link to airport

A tram-train service has been mooted as the preferred option for a direct rail link between Leeds and Leeds Bradford Airport.

Engineering consultants WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff suggested in a draft report submitted to West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA)’s transport committee on 26 February that the vehicles, which can run on both train and tram lines, would be the most cost-effective solution.

WYCA has now commissioned a study on developing a Metro-style public transport system for Leeds.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, chair of WYCA’s Transport Committee, said: “It has long been acknowledged that Leeds City Region needs the kind of multi-modal transport system that you will find in most major European cities.

“Developing a metro-style system with integrated rail, light rail, bus, cycling and walking networks designed to meet local people’s needs, will underpin the economic growth and resulting job creation we are already seeing in the City Region.

“It will also ensure that the benefits of High Speed Rail are maximised across the City Region and act as a catalyst for attracting further investment.”

The UK’s first tram-trains have arrived in South Yorkshire in preparation for being run on Sheffield’s tram and train network by 2017. The most recent edition of RTM includes an interview with Simon Coulthard, head of tram-train projects at Network Rail, who spoke to us after the government approved a joint Transports and Work Act Order application to build the new Tinsley Chord from Sheffield to Rotherham.

Tram-train is also being considered for the Glasgow Airport rail link

Last week, a Transport Select Committee report stated that the UK needs better rail surface access to airports. And HS2’s chair Sir David Higgins launched the ‘HS2: Changing Britain’ report, which said that innovation is needed to ensure HS2 succeeds.


James Miller   01/03/2016 at 13:43

There were plans many decades ago, to link Guiseley on the Wharfedale Line to Horsforth on the Harrogate Line, through Yeadon, which is where the airport is now. The consultants recommend a tram-train from Horsforth to the airport, but why not go on to Guiseley, as this would connect both Leeds and Bradford to their local airport.

Anonymous   01/03/2016 at 20:37

So why is it that they consider a tram-train to be the best option for access to airports in Leeds and Glasgow but not to provide access to Heathrow from the west?

Andrew Sharp   02/03/2016 at 16:36

Topography. LBA is in a very hilly area, difficult to serve by heavy rail but easier to serve by tram-train (which it is assumed will cope better with gradients and sharp curves). The heavy rail link to Glasgow Airport would have necessitated moving the tank farm - not easy - which a tram-train could go round. Western access to LHR is not so constrained.

John Gilbert   14/04/2016 at 16:57

"Could," "might," "maybe," why the Subjunctive Mood might have been designed for use in tentative, faint-hearted Britain!

Etaoin   02/11/2017 at 16:25

Here we go again. Leeds has been "might getting" since the early 1950s, when an underground tram system in the city center was planned. Forget about it. Nothing is ever done. This is part of the England = London = England philosophy.

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