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Heavy rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport undeliverable?

A direct rail service link between Leeds and Leeds/Bradford Airport provides the most attractive solution in terms of journey times, a report compiled for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority concludes, adding that any new Parkway station would be less attractive because of the need to interchange.

The WYCA favours such a direct rail line to a station at the airport, while the Harrogate Chamber of Trade backs the Parkway concept (RAIL 794).

However, the report also notes that “all the potential fixed link alignments considered significantly exceed the typical maximum gradient that heavy rail can operate over a sustained distance.

“The majority of the route options on the eastern side of the Airport (towards Horsforth) are at the highest gradient of any light rail system in the UK. The routes on the western side of the Airport (towards Bradford) involve gradient profiles which are in excess of any current UK light rail system over a significant section.”

As a result, the report suggests that “viable solutions” would be focused on bus-based technology towards Bradford and tram-train on the eastern side in the long term. A new Parkway station option located north of Horsforth station was also deemed to merit further investigation. 

  • For more on this story see RAIL 795, on sale March 2


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  • cat - 26/02/2016 17:49

    I know the locality well and the terrain is hardly mountainous, have the consultants been using faulty measuring equipment? Even if their conclusions regarding the gradient are correct, anywhere down south would have qualified for a short tunnel to resolve the issue.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 26/02/2016 18:17

    Well obviously Leeds-Bradford Airport Parkway station would be like Southampton Airport Parkway and Luton Airport Parkway with shuttle buses operating between the railway station and the airport.

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  • James Miller - 26/02/2016 19:07

    I just wonder whether if the Harrogate Line was electrified, that by the clever use of IPEMUs, these could get into the airport on a simpler partially-electrified track There are also some difficult tunnels on the Harrogate Line, which are probably best left without electrification. More ways are becoming available to get trains into difficult places.

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  • Graham - 27/02/2016 13:03

    So why not a loop in tunnel under the airport linking Horsforth & Ilkley lines? Might be expensive but would access both cities.

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