A BRAND new London to Harrogate connection as part of the planned Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway will be a “game-changer” for commuters, a local MP has said.
The Yorkshire Post understands advanced talks are under way which will see LNER (London North Eastern Railway, formerly Virgin Trains East Coast) run six trains per day on the Harrogate line, with the new station set to be the key stop between London and Harrogate.
It is also hoped the connection would also cut journey times to Leeds from Harrogate down to 12 minutes.
Details of the proposal follow a meeting called by Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel, which saw discussions with Leeds Bradford Airport, Network Rail, LNER, Northern Rail and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The aim was to encourage partnership working to secure an early delivery of the new station, providing jobs at the airport and improving Leeds North West’s transport network, reducing car traffic on the A660 and improving air quality.
Mr Sobel said he had secured a commitment from LNER, and has set his sights on an early delivery for the Parkway station, which is currently earmarked for completion in 2023.
“A London connection to the new station is a gamechanger for our area creating jobs and growth in our local community,” he said.
“Since I took office I have been working to ensure that we see improvements to local rail and bus services. This new station will not only attract investment to the airport, creating local jobs, but will provide a viable heavy rail alternative with a park and ride, to commuters in North Leeds and Wharfedale. The new service will cut journey times to Leeds to 12 minutes.”
LNER’s commercial manager Paul Smith said: “Our aim at LNER is to continue to support the local community and economy through greater partnership working and making it even easier to travel by train.”
Charles Johnson, Head of Planning and Development at Leeds Bradford Airport, added: “We are pleased that our MP has injected some momentum into these discussions. It is so important that we get the necessary infrastructure up and running to realise our potential as an airport and to enable us to provide jobs and growth to the local and regional economy.”