Rail plan ‘will create jobs and boost economy’

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TRANSPORT group Arriva is planning a new inter-city rail service linking West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire with London, which it says will create jobs and lead to a better deal for passengers.

The plans, which have been developed by Arriva’s subsidiary, Alliance Rail Holdings, include a two-hourly service to Leeds calling at a new station, East Leeds Parkway, and a total investment of at least £130m.

In an executive summary to support the plans, Alliance Rail says: “The introduction of significant private investment that brings direct inter-city rail services to many new areas is in line with the Government’s aim of providing wider economic benefits, to the North of England in particular.”

The executive summary has been published by Alliance Rail, through its subsidiary Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), before it makes a formal application to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in a bid to secure capacity to operate train services to and from King’s Cross.

The plans for services to London include a commitment to run six trains a day that continue to Bradford, and one which goes on to Ilkley. Both services will call at a new station at Kirkstall Forge near Leeds. The company also plans to obtain a fleet of new 125mph trains and invest in the new East Leeds Parkway station. Two sites on the line from Leeds to Micklefield are being considered as the site of the proposed station.

The executive summary adds: “More than 160 new jobs will be created for this operation, plus significant wider economic benefits across the towns and cities served.”

There are also plans for up to four trains a day to Cleethorpes via Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Grimsby, restoring direct links between North Lincolnshire and London.

The summary also outlines plans for an “innovative training scheme in association with an established further education college in Yorkshire.”

The summary states: “As the private sector continues to lead economic recovery, the introduction of GNER services will provide a real and tangible economic stimulus to the many new markets to be served, while also creating a significant number of new and permanent posts.”

GNER aims to secure the capacity to operate trains on the East Coast Main Line for 10 years from late 2017. The company initially submitted an application for track access rights to the ORR in 2011. However, it later accepted that it did not have the resources to operate the service as planned and withdrew the application in early 2012.

The summary quotes Rail Minister Stephen Hammond, who said an “open access” system works well for customers and the public purse.

Open access passenger train operators run services purely on a commercial basis, without a franchise or a concession agreement The summary highlights “very strong evidence” that competition is good for passengers, “not least because it has restrained recent levels of fare rises”.

It says: “Excluding London, a population of around two million will benefit from the introduction of these services. The services to be operated will link a number of important Yorkshire and Lincolnshire towns and cities with London. Some towns will have direct services to London for the first time in more than 25 years.”