Transport update from Ian Williams

Head of Business Representation at Leeds Chamber, Ian Williams, provides a transport update for West & North Yorkshire below:

A £1.4bn programme of transport improvements for West Yorkshire and York has been agreed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. All of the schemes have been devised and assessed for impact on unlocking economic benefits in terms of creating GVA created, employment and housing growth across W Yorks and York. These objectives are in line with the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) drawn up by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and adopted by the Combined Authority.

  • Transport Projects to be delivered in full by 2021
  • Rail station gateways – Phase 1,
  • Highways network efficiency (UTMC) across W Yorks strategic highway network,
  • Wakefield Eastern Relief Road,
  • A650 Tong Street Corridor Improvements, Bradford,
  • Wakefield City Centre Package (Kirkgate and Denby Dale junctions),
  • East Leeds Orbital Road and Northern Outer Ring Road junctions,
  • Aire Valley – Leeds Integrated Transport Package (phase 1 park & ride only),
  • Halifax – Huddersfield  A629 Corridor Improvements and Halifax Town Centre (Phases 1 – 4 only),
  • Glasshoughton Southern Link Road,
  • A650 Hard Ings and Keighley town centre improvements,
  • W Yorks package of highways efficiency (all vehicles) and bus improvements (Phase 1 – focusing on priority corridors)
  • Rail Station parking expansion programme  across W Yorks,
  • Pontefract Northern Bypass (now on site ),
  • Calder Valley Line rail enhancements (to enhance Network Rail commitments),
  • A65 Airport Link Road, Leeds,
  • A62 Cooper Bridge junction, Kirklees,
  • Harrogate Road/New Line junction, Bradford,
  • Leeds City Centre network improvements – Phase 1 orbital capacity on the Inner Ring Road,
  • York Central Access including rail station gateway improvements and access to the development site,
  • Public Transport Improvements in York City Centre,
  • York Northern Outer Ring Road improvements

Other Transport projects on site by 2021;

  • Rail stations gateways – Phase 2,
  • Aire Valley Leeds – Leeds Integrated Transport Package  (phase 2 highways access),
  • West Yorkshire package of highways efficiency  (all vehicles) and bus improvements (phase 2) ,
  • A62 to Huddersfield and A644 works (excluding later delivery of Ravensthorpe Relief Road),
  • A629 Halifax – Huddersfield Corridor Improvements and Halifax Town Centre (Phase 5),
  • W Yorks package of highways efficiency (all vehicles) and bus improvements (phase 2)
  • A653 Dewsbury to Leeds corridor,
  • M62 junction 24a on A641 Bradford Road south of Brighouse (this project is dependent on the Highways Agency),
  • A641 Bradford – Huddersfield corridor (partially completed),
  • Bradford – Shipley corridor improvements along Canal Road and Manningham Lane,
  • South East Bradford Access Route,
  • Clifton Moor Park & Ride
  • East Leeds Parkway.

Further Transport projects to be delivered by 2025

  • Rail station gateways –   Phase 3,
  • Castleford Highways Improvements,
  • A644 Ravensthorpe Relief Road, Kirklees,
  • West Yorkshire package of highways efficiency (all vehicles) and bus improvements (Phase 3)
  • NGT to Aire Valley, Leeds,
  • A6110 Leeds Outer Ring Road Route Improvement (Stanningley Bypass to M621)

Major roads investment in Yorkshire

The Department for Transport ( DfT) announced in early December 18 new road schemes worth £2.3bn for Yorkshire and the north east of England. This includes;

  • Extending smart motorways westwards along the M62, so they cross to link Leeds and Manchester,
  • Planning will begin to upgrade the last non-motorway section of the A1 in Yorkshire, between Redhouse and Darrington,
  • A study into the feasibility of building a trans-Pennine tunnel to address the strategic gap between Sheffield and Manchester,
  • Port of Immingham improvements,
  • M1 junction 45 improvements to allow increased capacity and to support the nearby Aire Valley enterprise zone,
  • M621 junctions 1 to 7 improvements including junction enhancements and localised widening of sections of the M621,
  • M1/M62 Lofthouse interchange including major enhancement to provide additional capacity at the interchange

East Coast Main Line

In late November the Government announced its intention to award the new East Coast franchise to Inter City Railways, a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin. The new franchise incudes key benefits for passengers including;

  • 23 new services from London to key destinations, with 75 more station calls p day,
  • Plans for new direct links to/from London to Huddersfield, Sunderland, Middlesborough, Dewsbury and Thornaby,
  • Proposals for more trains to/from London from Bradford, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, Shipley, Stirling, and York,
  • 3,100 extra seats in the morning peak by 2020,
  • 65 new Intercity Express trains brought into service from 2018, totalling  500 new carriages,
  • Journey times from London to Leeds REDUCED BY 14 MINUTES,
  •  A £140m investment package to improve trains and stations.

It will be an 8–year franchise commencing in March 2015.

Northern and Trans-Pennine franchises

The DfT has announced a delay in announcing the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Northern and Trans-Pennine franchises. It is now expected that they will be published sometime in February 2015. The commencement date for the operation of the new franchises remains the same i.e. February 2016.

Three companies have been shortlisted for the Northern franchise;

  • Abellio Northern Ltd,
  • Arriva Rail North Ltd, and
  • Govia Northern Ltd.

Three companies have been shortlisted for the TransPennine Express franchise;

  • First Trans Pennine Express Ltd,
  • Keolis Go-Ahead Ltd, and
  • Stagecoach Trans Pennine Express Trains Ltd.

Transport for the North

This is a recently established body comprising of the City Regions of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Hull. It is in response to Sir David Higgin’s call for much better east-west connectivity in the North. It aims to produce an interim report featuring options, costs and a delivery timetable for east-west connections by March 2015.