HARROGATE LINE - bid for electrification

INDEX:

Harrogate Line Home

FAQs

Latest News

Messages of Support

Harrogate Line Great Days Out

Northern Rail Route Guide

Direct Trains London-Hgte

 

(Click here to download map as a PDF)

BACKGROUND

The Harrogate Line between Leeds, Harrogate, Knaresborough and York is one of the busiest lines in the Northern Rail franchise. 
Hence there are several schemes planned for upgrading the track, the signals, the rolling stock and some stations.  

Read more about the history of the campaign in the following documents  (click links to download PDF files):

To keep up to date on developments you may wish to join the Harrogate Line Supporters Group FREE by e-mail only.

LATEST NEWS - March 2017:

HARROGATE LINE SUPPORTERS GROUP BULLETIN No 20

 

LEEDS BRADFORD AIRPORT PARKWAY STATION ON THE HARROGATE LINE DOES NOT NEED TRAM-TRAINS!

The latest issue of RAIL Magazine (No 821) carries a four-page feature article on the three new stations recently announced by Leeds City Council at Leeds Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and White Rose Retail Park. This article includes two-thirds of a page on the Harrogate Line and our proposal for the Airport Parkway Station near to the existing long-stay car parks and using the shuttle buses up to the Terminal building.   Scans of this article are attached for the personal information of Group Members - with acknowledgements to the author Andrew Mourant and the publishers of RAIL magazine, Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. (01733 468000)

In view of recent press coverage we have now compiled the attached summary of the relative advantages and disadvantages of heavy rail and tram-trains on the Harrogate Line, in the context of our original proposal for a new Parkway Station south of the Bramhope tunnel, where the line is only 1 mile as the crow flies from the Airport Terminal Building in its current location.

We do not support the use of tram-train technology for any services between Leeds and the Harrogate District or between Harrogate and York. The route needs the affordable capacity, speed, safety and frequency which is now secured for implementation in the next two years via the new Northern and East Coast Rail franchises (i.e. a two-way all day frequency of 4 trains per hour in each direction between Harrogate and Leeds plus new Inter-City Express Harrogate-London trains operating at a 2-hourly interval).  This 15 minute frequency is the widely recognised benchmark at which modal shift from car occurs quite significantly. When associated with the fast trip times and comfort levels offered by conventional "heavy" rail, it becomes the most compelling and economically viable option.

With regard to proposals for Tram-trains, we are extremely concerned at the potential consumption of scarce capacity on the Harrogate main line by slow and incompatible tram-train services and the inevitable bottleneck junctions that would be created where services might join and leave the main line. It is clear that some light rail enthusiasts would like to see Tram-Trains run on the Harrogate line and then go on a spur right up to the Terminal building - and even possibly onwards to Guiseley and Bradford. That aspiration is, on the basis of experience elsewhere misguided.

Whilst this may be technically possible it would be at massive cost to the public purse. It would be economically unviable both in terms of capital cost to build and subsequent on-costs of operation particularly if a high frequency and high volume capability is to be achieved.  Furthermore it could inhibit the future development of the Airport Terminal Building by effectively fossilizing the exact location of the terminal in its current position, which may not be optimal for the future long term development of the airport infrastructure.

In 2015, the Government's Electrification Task Force recommended that the Harrogate Line should be electrified using the standard industry 25kV overhead system. There is a mistaken view that trams and light rail somehow equate to lower costs and higher frequencies. In fact, the evidence we have seen demonstrates the opposite to be true and users simultaneously suffer a diminution of quality and extended trip times. The beauty of the proposed Airport Station is that it can be served by the services noted above as soon as it is built at virtually no additional cost to taxpayers (because the services will be fully funded and staffed). The wider regional market exploited by the facility is also key to its success.  However, we remain fully cognisant of the evidence at other regional airports around the UK, which show that rail access to airports outside of London and Manchester will remain at a relatively low percentage of the total. The likely prime customers will be incoming business users and others wishing to access the business districts of Leeds, Harrogate and York quickly.

In our assessment therefore, the main beneficiaries of the proposed Airport/Park & Ride Station will be the many residents in north-west Leeds who currently have no easy access to rail services into Leeds City Centre.   In alphabetical order, the residents of Arthington, Bramhope, Cookridge, Pool, and Yeadon would have very good accessibility to the proposed new Station. These are potential users who also experience some of the most congested road trips into and out of Leeds City Centre. Many of them will no doubt be willing to pay a reasonable parking fee and rail fare if the total cost is competitive with the cost of city centre parking in Leeds.   The station would therefore enable trips which are potentially better than those achieved with the current levels of traffic congestion both during the rush hours and the off-peaks. 

Rail users already pay to park cars at many locations, including West and North Yorkshire. The use of modest charging is a mechanism by which a business case can be established and funding secured.  LBA Management has concurred with the concept that the new station should be served by extending its existing airport car park shuttle buses which frequently operate between the terminal and the various car parks and for which accessing the new station would be a very short extension

When electrified, the Harrogate Line trains could be linked to the Airedale and Bradford Lines to provide a cross-city line.  .  The proposed LBA Parkway Station would then be directly accessible from large parts of North and West Yorkshire either directly or by changing at Leeds or York. We would also envisage a further increase in frequencies (e.g. to 10 minutes) along with the possibility that the route could also be reconnected to towns like Ripon and/or Wetherby.  None of these possibilities would be compatible with tram-train journeys.  Further details of this suggested scheme are available on request.

It must be stressed that the trains serving the proposed new Airport Station already exist and are thus available at no further cost to the project. It is also a fact that they are committed to be upgraded in terms of the frequency, capacity and quality of trains at no additional cost to taxpayers through the DfT franchising programme (Northern and East Coast franchises).  Overlooking these key points these is perhaps regrettable as it under-sells the proposition in an area that readers and stakeholders will understand. These are constructive and advantageous points and that are both material and committed.

As already noted above, evidence suggests that the number of air passengers likely to use such a rail link will be a relatively small percentage of total LBA passengers - and such users will require a reliable fast frequent and comfortable trip that cannot be provided by a tram-train proposition. Such systems internationally have a low rate of cost recovery through the fare box because of their high cost of construction and operation plus low yield fares that are sustainable because of the trip times, frequencies and comfort levels.

The over-riding advantage of our proposal is that the only cost would be the capital cost of constructing the new Station and associated accesses/car parks.

This is because the existing services, which are being significantly increased over the next couple of years irrespective, would serve it without any requirement to procure new dedicated rolling stock or additional staff. (Zero capital expenditure on trains) and at very marginal incremental operating cost.

We therefore endorse the Leeds City Council's decision to pursue our suggested LBA Parkway Station rather than the light rail or tram-train schemes that have been mentioned in despatches from other interested parties. 

From Brian L Dunsby, Group Leader 
with input from Mark Leving, Rail Adviser

 


HARROGATE LINE SUPPORTERS GROUP.
P O Box 888, Dept HTWW, HARROGATE HG2 8UH
Tel: 01423 879208  Fax: 01423 870025
Mobile: 07836 537512
brian.dunsby@harrogateline.org
www.harrogateline.org

HARROGATE LINE SUPPORTERS GROUP BULLETINS

Click HLSG links to download Harrogate Line Supporters Group Bulletin as PDF files

Bulletin No.

Main Subjects

Issued

HLSG 10

Electrification Task Force; Rail Industry Day

June 2014

HLSG 11

Rail North; Northern & TPE, Harrogate Line Developments

July 2014

HLSG 12

Electrification endorsed; Northern Consultation; LBA Parkway

October 2014

HLSG 13

Promises of more and more trains to Harrogate!

March 2015

HLSG 14

New PPS; IEP Trains; Parking Charges; D78 Trains

May 2015

HLSG 15

 

 

HLSG 16

 

 

HLSG 17

Virgin Plans; Arriva Plans; Northern Plans; LBA Links

May 2017

HLSG 18

 

 

HLSG 19

 

 

HLSG 20

 

 

HARROGATE LINE INFORMATION SHEETS

Click HT links to download Harrogate Line Information Sheets as PDF files

Ref No

Title

Version No

Issued

HT400

Harrogate-London Rail Services: Recent History

 

 

HT401

Harrogate Line Objectives

7b

Jan 2015

HT402

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HT404

Harrogate Line electrification Business Case News

 

 

HT414

Harrogate-London Direct Services

 

 

HT415

How the London Trains Arrived

 

 

HT420

Pilot Proposal - Why Harrogate "Metro" Line?

G(iii)

Aug 2011

HT423

Why Harrogate Trains? Summary

 

Feb 2014

HT424

Why Harrogate Trains? (25 pages)

2010h

Aug 2010

HT425

Chamber welcomes electrification campaign success

 

Mar 2015

HT457

Harrogate-Airport Bus Service

E

Jan 2015

HT460

Leeds Cross-City Lines

1

May 2016

HT470

Priorities for new stations on Leeds-Harrogate-York Line

 

 

HT473

LBIA Parkway Station Assessment Flawed?

Final

Jan 2015

HT479

Harrogate Line - Tram-Trains vs Heavy Rail

3

Mar 2017

HT483

Chamber welcomes new London-Harrogate Trains

 

Jan 2011

HT489

Chamber welcomes Virgin East Coast announcement

 

May 2016

For News Releases during the campaign click here

To find out more about the Virgin Trains East Coast direct trains between Harrogate and London click here