YP Letters: Local rail will help to unite Leeds and get city back on track

The new Apperley Bridge Station, which opened on Sunday.
The new Apperley Bridge Station, which opened on Sunday.
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From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth.

I AM delighted that two new local rail stations are opening on the electrified Airedale line but more are needed such as at Kirkstall Bridge and at South Horsforth/Rodley where a massive new housing development sits adjacent to the line.

The new franchises improving service levels on the Harrogate line are also most welcome and its electrification should be a priority.

The Airedale line is a prime candidate for higher frequency services and should eventually divert into a tunnel to serve new stations at Leeds Westgate and Leeds City Square.

It’s a shame that Leeds is promoting road schemes for access to the airport and to the new housing developments in East Leeds where the former Wetherby line could be reopened, at least as far as Thorner.

Diversion of long distance services via a chord allowing Leeds York via the new HS2 would allow Metro-style service and frequency in east Leeds. A new chord through Richmond Hill to the Castleford line would allow a better balance of east- west services and reduce the present imbalance with the majority of trains approaching Leeds form the west.

There are also ambitious plans for the redevelopment of Leeds station with the plans for New Lane fortunately abandoned.

However these ideas still concentrate passengers in one location leaving large areas more than a convenient walk from a station.

Hence it is disappointing that the recent interim report on 
the redevelopment of Leeds station does not recommend evaluation of a cross-city rail tunnel with underground stations at key points such 
as Eastgate and Millennium Square.

For example, shoppers at 
the future Victoria station are more likely to travel by rail if 
they could get on their train home at a station directly 
under the centre rather than facing a trek back to the main station.

This is the convenience that shoppers at Newcastle’s Eldon Square already have, as do citizens of Liverpool and Glasgow where a number of underground stations serve major central destinations.

Leeds needs more central stations in order better to disperse passengers and reach the main objectives directly.

What about a competition as to how Leeds should best improve its rail network so as best to propel us genuinely into the league of top ranking European cities?