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WYCA to invest Leeds trolleybus money in rail after McLoughlin blocks proposals

The money earmarked to build a new trolleybus system in Leeds will be reinvested in transport in the region, including rail, after permission for the scheme was denied.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, denied approval for the scheme, ruling that on the basis of a public inquiry conducted in 2014, the scheme did not offer value for money and would cause too much environmental disruption.

However, Cllr Keith Wakefield, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) transport committee said that the £173.5m intended to pay for the scheme has been ring-fenced for transport improvements in Leeds.

These improvements could include building on existing rail upgrades in Leeds, such as the new Apperley Bridge rail station and Leeds Station Southern Entrance, as well as the forthcoming Kirkstall Forge and Low Moor stations.

Cllr Wakefield said that the WYCA also now wanted to work with the government to develop a fully integrated tram-train system for Leeds.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the combined authority, said: “We need to be able to press ahead with the development of a metro-style system with integrated rail, tram train and light rail, bus, cycling and walking networks designed to meet local people’s needs and underpin the economic growth and job creation across the City Region.

“We have the ambition and the ability to achieve this but unless we get the government’s backing, today will be remembered as a bad day for Leeds, West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region and also for the idea of a Northern Powerhouse.”

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John Gilbert   17/05/2016 at 10:42

What a sheer mess is this whole Leeds trolleybus, originally tram, proposal. Sheffield and Nottingham are smaller yet have trams while still Leeds is without - Liverpool too for that matter, What has Leeds done so to offend the Westminster politicians year after year? Presumably the right degree of back-scratching has not been practised. It is all so utterly pathetic. But please don't give up Leeds; you have a cast-iron case.

Philb   17/05/2016 at 12:26

I lived in Leeds for a few years from 2001 and was surprised that there seemed to be a popular view that improved public transport - supertram, the trolleybus, buses and trains - were not the solution. People commuted into the centre from Guiseley taking 40 minutes or more, rather than taking the train which took 15 - and parking was more than the train fare. Sadly, the city will gradually lose out to other cities - and the residents choke on the resultant fumes.... or leave.

Paul Hepworth   17/05/2016 at 12:30

I would not be surprised to see this spent on a rail link of some sort from Leeds/Bradford Airport

Nonsuchmike   17/05/2016 at 13:28

Let's hope not, Paul. The better solution @ Yeadon is a light rail/tram link because of the gradients and limited space available onsite. How great it would be to see cars & lorries cleared out from City centres; pedestrianisation and tramliinks providing access from the environs with park and ride prevailing. Then through trains (not dead-end termini) giving connectivity across the north and midlands as well as through London being factored in from the word Go rather than as an enforced afterthought would give to all the benefit of a greener, safer, more comfortable and more civilised way of moving from A to B.

Joel   18/05/2016 at 10:02

Trolleybuses are the most environmentally friendly form of road passenger transport, needing the least infrastructure changes combined with the lowest noise outputs and emissions almost zero. Yes, our current way of generating electricity is substantially polluting, but that isn't the trolleys' fault - electric trains and trams aren't accused of polluting, so that argument against trolleys would be invalid. A double-deck trolleybus can shift more passengers than a diesel bus, or even a hybrid. Trolleys can run on 'opportunity charging' meaning wires do not have to be strung in sensitive locations. Arguments against trolleys are petty and political - they're just not as sexy as trams or trains, and some will always say how inflexible trolleys are (but never apply that to trams and trains).

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