Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

A link is as good as a rest

Posted in Commuter, Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro by Chairman Pip on 25 November 2011

The Leeds-Bradford lines are a set of two distinct routes, originating from Leeds to the two stations in the centre of Bradford, Bradford Forster Square and Bradford Interchange. Much like the railway stations in London, Manchester, Glasgow etc, these railway stations were built by separate railway companies with little thought given to linking them. Of course, we know that the Metropolitan Railway was built to do that in London, while (eventually) Metrolink was constructed to connect Piccadilly and Victoria stations in Manchester. Now, according to the map, Forster Square and Interchange are but a 10 minute walk apart. But even so, knowing the average rail traveller’s dislike of changing trains, I have no doubt that they’d dislike even more having to actually change stations. Which is where the idea of Bradford Crossrail comes into the equation. This is a proposal to build a heavy rail link through the centre of the city (likely using a viaduct) to connect the two stations. However, the idea of building a brand new heavy rail route through the centre of a major urban area in this day and age is likely to bring about short shrift, even though it may well be a good idea. So, if not heavy rail, then how about light rail? What if the two routes between Bradford and Leeds were converted to tram-train operation, with street running through the centre of Bradford (and potentially into the centre of Leeds too)? This could have the benefit of connecting the two stations in Bradford, while at the same time perhaps easing the ever increasing congestion levels at Leeds by removing some services from the main station into an adjacent tram stop, not to mention providing better connectivity between the communities on the two Bradford routes.

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