Bradford: £24m station extension will pave the way for more trains to London by 2025
Rail Minister Huw Merriman has announced another platform will be built at Bradford Forster Square, allowing London North Eastern Railway (LNER) to increase the number of daily return services it runs to London King’s Cross from two to seven.
He said the government wants the platform to be built “by the end of the year” so it can be used by thousands of people who will be travelling to Bradford for the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2025.
Network Rail said the designs are “nearly complete”, construction will begin in the spring and it is due to be completed by the end of the year.
A safety validation process, expected to take several months, and timetable changes must be signed off before the platform can open.
Councillor Susan Hinchliffe, leader of Bradford Council, is confident services will begin running from the new platform by May 2025.
She said it will improve a key rail connection, encourage more businesses to invest in Bradford and make it easier for visitors to get to City of Culture events.
It comes after the government promised to build a railway line that runs into a new station in the city, claiming the £2bn project will allow passengers to travel from Manchester to Bradford, via Huddersfield, in just 30 minutes.
“That’s going to take some time to deliver and Bradford needs investment right now. That’s what we’re delivering with a new platform at Forster Square,” said Mr Merriman.
“As we move into 2025, we will look at changing the timetable so that we can bring the new train services into Bradford.”
Proposals for the new station are part of Network North – a transport plan announced by Rishi Sunak after he scrapped the northern leg of HS2 in October.
Councillor Hinchcliffe said the council is still looking to identify the best location for the station, as it will kickstart a major regeneration of the surrounding area, but the project could take “10 to 15 years” to complete.
“It’s not just a station,” she said. “It’s about new homes, new commercial space in the southern gateway of the city.
“It will massively regenerate the area for decades to come. It’s a game changer and for the first time Bradford will be on the east-to-west mainline.”
The £17m redevelopment of Bradford Forster Square, which was due to deliver new shops, a cafe and ticket office, has been postponed.