According to a new report the building of a rail link to Leeds Bradford Airport would be ‘technically impossible’.
However, alternatives, such as a tram-train connection, could run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
At a cost of £360 million, the report says that surrounding areas aren’t feasible for train lines, but tram lines are a possibility. However, estimated building costs are astronomic! Especially given that the report also says that even with new rail / tram links that road links will also need to be improved, developed and created – again at huge cost, an estimated £15m and £75m depending on the level of construction.
Consideration for such a tram link can’t be taken lightly therefore, the new tram-train technology, to launch in South Yorkshire in 2017, will be closely monitored. Here the same types of tram-trains will be used as those suggested by the Leeds Bradford report. Running on conventional rails from Rotherham to Meadowhall, the tram-trains will then join the Supertram network onwards to Sheffield city centre.
Speaking about the report findings, Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chairman of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said, “This study has confirmed tram-trains linking to the existing rail network at Horsforth could be the best solution to overcoming challenges presented by the airport’s location and topography and locating a station close to the existing terminal building. Tram-trains are light-rail vehicles similar to trams that can run on exclusive lines but also share main-line railway lines with conventional trains. They are widely used in Europe and in North America and West Yorkshire Combined Authority sees them as a way of achieving its ambition of developing an integrated Metro-style transport system for West Yorkshire and the City Region.”