Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Wortley Curve Re-opening?

 Transport bosses have discussed proposals to re-open a stretch of Leeds rail line that could create a new link to HS2 in West Yorkshire.

Re-opening the Wortley Curve, a half mile long track, would allow rail services to pass between Wakefield and Bradford without the need to pass through Leeds railway station.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee also heard that the work could also integrate Bradford into plans for the high speed rail between London and Leeds.

Wortley Curve, closed in 1985 – would make up part of a bid to the government as part of a scheme to re-instate old rail routes.

At a meeting the the Authority’s Transport Committee – held online via Zoom, members discussed a number of upcoming transport projects.

These include the Restoring Your Railway Fund, announced by the government in February as a way of supporting different projects to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has supported re-opening Wortley Curve as part of the Ideas Fund strand of this scheme.

The Committee heard that a bid to this fund for cash to re-open the line would be submitted in November.

Bradford Councillor Michael Ellis (Cons, Bingley Rural), said: “In the past I’ve been told we can’t do this because there is no capacity between Wakefield and Doncaster because of freight travel. Is something being put in place to increase the capacity in this area?”

He was told that a successful bid to the Ideas Fund would allow for further investigation into how deliverable the scheme would be – including how it would link with the wider network.

Liz Hunter, head of Transport Policy, told the committee: “We are thinking about how we might integrate HS2 into our network.

“Wortley Curve is part of a packages of measures that might allow us to do that.”

A report to the Committee had said: “If the Wortley Curve could be reinstated as part of a wider package, it could potentially enable faster, direct journeys between Bradford/Calderdale/Kirklees and Wakefield/Sheffield/the East Midlands and the south without having to reverse at Leeds station.”