Fears railway upgrade could close Yorkshire bus station and disrupt services

Construction work on a long-awaited multi-billion pound rail upgrade could cause major disruption to bus services in West Yorkshire and the planned upgrade of Huddersfield Bus Station.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has raised concerns about the impact of Network Rail’s plans for work on the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has raised concerns about the impact of Network Rail’s plans for work on the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade between Huddersfield to Westtown in Dewsbury.

Network Rail has applied to the Government for a Transport and Works Act Order, which would give it power to temporarily take possession of land at the bus station while it electrifies the railway line. But WYCA, which currently owns the land, said this could disrupt bus services.

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In a report, WYCA said it is “very supportive” of the rail improvement project overall but these powers “have the potential to disrupt the operation of the bus station” as it would “need to be closed or partially closed during the construction”.

WYCA is now asking Network Rail to guarantee that measures will be put in place to “maintain the safe operation of the bus station” and the planned bus station upgrade.

Negotiations are well underway but if they cannot reach an agreement then the dispute will have to be resolved at a Public Inquiry in November 2021.

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In a report, it states: "Active negotiations are continuing to obtain a legally binding agreement with Network Rail offering safeguards which remove the concerns regarding the Huddersfield Bus Station and the management of travel disruption.

"If this cannot be achieved by the time of the Inquiry, then it will be necessary for these matters to be resolved by the inquiry."

In May, the Department for Transport (DfT) said £317m would be invested in the upgrade to improve “punctuality, reliability and connectivity” for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.

Network Rail has said the project, which was first announced in 2011, will “support economic growth in the North and deliver real benefits for passengers and communities”.