Yorkshire commuters were offered the hope of an end to the use of “buses on rails” in the Autumn Statement but train operators look set to have the final say.
The Chancellor told MPs that “replacing the ancient and unpopular pacer carriages with new and modern trains” would be part of the new northern and transpennine rail franchises due to come into force in 2016.
But the detailed Treasury documents released alongside the statement suggest the Government will only “encourage bidders to replace the outdated pacer trains” rather than make it a requirement of the companies awarded the franchises which cover the bulk of local services in the region.
It was also confirmed that in the coming days the Government will publish the results of a feasibility study looking at improving access to Leeds-Bradford Airport which has been criticised for many years.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority – the body responsible for major transport projects in the area – has already been given £38m to fund a new road link but the study will look at the potential for a rail line.
James Lewis, chairman of the authority’s transport committee, said: “I am pleased to see the Government supporting proposals for an access road to Leeds- Bradford International Airport, which is one of the proposed West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund projects, due to be delivered by 2021.
“We look forward to seeing the feasibility study report when it is published on Friday and working with the Department for Transport and Leeds-Bradford International Airport to take forward its findings.”