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Campaign hopes high for airport railway station
Plans for a railway station at Leeds Bradford Airport could be boosted by the latest efforts to upgrade rail services.
Network Rail is currently carrying out about £16 million of work on the line that runs from Leeds to Harrogate, which is due to finish later this year.
Campaigners are making strong calls for the whole line to be electrified in a similar way to the successful electrification of the Airedale and Wharfedale routes to Skipton and Ilkley. And transport bosses are hoping a successful electrification could pave the way for a new station at the airport, potentially making it more accessible to millions of people.
Members of LBA’s Airport consultative committee will meet this week to hear the latest developments from Brian Dunsby, chief exec-utive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, which has been leading the calls for improvements on the Harrogate line.
Earlier this year, he told the committee electrification is a “realistic and distinct possibility”, and he is expected today to say developments are continuing.
Mr Dunsby said all the pieces are in place for electrification, but the funding is still to be sorted.
He added: “The Depart-ment of Transport has said ‘yes’ in theory, but has told us to go back and work out the costs and benefits.”
Mr Dunsby said plans for a Leeds Bradford Parkway station are being regarded as a top priority, although he admitted it could be some way off.
“It would be ideal to build on the existing line at a 15-minute frequency and a 15 minutes journey time from Leeds,” he added.
“It could link to the airport’s long-stay car park and perhaps have a shuttle like the ones they have at Gatwick.”
Earlier this year, the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority backed plans for a full Harrogate line electrification and airport station, while Bradford Council’s strategic director for regeneration and culture, Barra Mac Ruairi, said he would like to see a tram/train or heavy rail link from Bradford to LBA to “ensure the district would not suffer an economic disadvantage by the provision of a fixed link from the airport to Leeds only”.