Campaigners have long been pushing for the electrification of the antiquated stretch of railway line which serves a range of passengers, including commuters at both the Leeds and York ends of the route, long distance travellers wishing to link into other services, those attending conferences and leisure travellers.
Now members of the Harrogate Line Supporters Group have revealed it plans to present a feasibility study and make the case to the Government for the long-awaited improvements.
Its hope is that by submitting its case in May, it will be in a stronger position to tap into cash which it is anticipated will become available after the electrification of the Transpennine line between Manchester and Leeds.
The Yorkshire Post has learned that the region’s authorities, including councils along the route, are backing the study.
Brian Dunsby, the chief executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “Consultants have been engaged to undertake a detailed study on the feasibility and the cost of upgrading the Harrogate line to electrified standard.
“Its a significant step forward for this project.
“Although there is no assurance of funding at this stage, our aim is to have this project ready in the pipeline when the Treasury decides to release additional funding for investment in further rail electrification.”
The group is now hoping that commuters will help build its case for investment in the line. It wants to hear details of any potential new developments within roughly a three-mile radius of the line that might significantly increase passengers – such as housing estates and business parks.
It is also keen to hear of specific dates and times when the service was so over-crowded that they could not get on the train, or had to stand all the way. People should email: [email protected]