Longer platforms, additional platforms, grade separated junctions and four-tracking feature in a plan to ease capacity pressures on West Yorkshire’s rail network.
The headline conclusions of Network Rail’s ‘Leeds area continuous modular strategic planning’ (CMSP) study were presented to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority last week.
Network Rail looked at rail capacity to 2043 for an area bounded by Bradford and Skipton in the west, Harrogate in the north, the approaches to York in the east, and towards Wakefield in the south.
WYCA was involved in the study and helped set the travel demand growth assumptions.
Councillors heard that recommended interventions included longer platforms at 29 stations; new platforms at Leeds, Bradford Forster Square and Castleford; and more track capacity between Armley Junction and Springs Junction. Traction power supply is identified as a constraint in the Leeds area for more electric trains.
Network Rail is developing plans for some high priority schemes to unlock the most pressing issues at Leeds. A strategic outline business case for the Leeds Existing Station Programme (LESP) of works was submitted to the DfT last December. Government approval is being sought to allow the next stage of design work on the projects – the ‘decision to develop’ stage of the rail network enhancement pipeline (RNEP).
West Yorkshire Combined Authority is pressing for land to be safeguarded around Leeds station for future rail improvements. Its evidence to the National Infrastructure Commission’s inquiry into the rail needs of the North and the Midlands says: “It is imperative that land is safeguarded as soon as possible in areas adjacent to Leeds station to ensure there is sufficient space to provide for future infrastructure requirements required by both CMSP and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“There is a significant risk that much of the required land may have been developed on by the time these proposals have been authorised.”
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