WHEN Ripon lost its rail link in 1967, very few people commuted to Teesside, Harrogate or Leeds. Now many hundreds do – and on roads that are quite incapable of taking any more traffic.
Furthermore Ringway Airport, as it was until 1975 when re-named Manchester International Airport, handled only about half a million passengers a year. The figure is now close to 20 million!
Many of the passengers from the North East and Teesside arrive at the airport by train but on a journey that takes them via York to get to Manchester, the direct route having been closed long before a Manchester Airport station existed. A Northallerton to Leeds rail link via Ripon and Harrogate would reduce the journey time by nearly 40 minutes.
In the drive to reduce CO2 emissions and pollution, rail is now very much in the forefront of transport planning but Ripon should not be seen in isolation.
The whole rail quadrangle of Northallerton, York, Harrogate and Leeds needs to be considered as one scheme with a Ripon rail link as an essential part. The railway from Harrogate to York is still single track in places while south of the Crimple Viaduct is a curve so tight that all trains have to be severely speed limited.