Leeds politicians and people are being urged to speak in one united voice for a train-tram system - and really get the city’s public transport ambitions moving.
A gathering of transport experts and lobbyists was told earlier today that tram-trains were “realistically the last chance” for Leeds to get the modern rapid transport network it needs and deserves.
The meeting, called by the All-Parliamentary Light Rail Group, was told that the geography in the Leeds City region and the desire to connect its key cities, meant tram-train was the “ideal” solution.
It was claimed that in other cities where the system had been introduced - including several on the continent- they had proven to be congestion-busting, footfall improving revelations.
Today’s meeting follows the shelving of Leeds’s proposed New Generation Trolleybus (NGT) trolleybus scheme earlier this month after an inspector rejected the case for it.
Guests were told the tram train and light rail have a proven track record of getting people out of their cars and on to public transport - something the Leeds City Region desperately needs. The line would also serve many of the same commuters as the NGT route and take pressure off some of the most congested roads in the region.
Greg Mulholland MP, chair of the Parliamentary Light Rail Group and MP for Leeds North West, called on politicians across the parties to unite behind the idea and reverse the “complete limbo and paralysis” of recent years.
He said: “Following the decision to reject NGT but happily to allocate £173 million to Leeds, there is a pressing need to get transport experts working with the local authorities on the right 21st century transport system and the Parliamentary Light Rail Group is keen to contribute to this.
“After all the frustrations of failed schemes and false starts, Leeds remains the biggest city in Europe without an underground or a light rail system.
“An underground is out the question due to cost and the failed attempts to convert road corridors means that the only realistic solution is to convert an existing train line, which is of course how the hugely successful Manchester Metrolink got started.
“The obvious and most realistic way to do this in Leeds is to do what Metro and Leeds City Council favoured post Supertram and pre NGT, which is a TramTrain network for the Leeds City Region.”