A LONG-AWAITED link between Bradford's two railway stations could be made a reality if a plan for a new 'tram-train' in Bradford takes off.
The idea of linking the city's two stations has been around for more than 100 years but no scheme has ever come to fruition.
Now it has emerged that a plan to introduce a tram-train line between Bradford and the Leeds-Bradford airport could involve a link-up between Forster Square and the Interchange.
Tram-train systems are a form of light rail which can run along both tramlines set into roads and railway lines shared with conventional trains.
A proposal to build such a link from Bradford city centre to the airport, with a possible extension down to the business parks off the M606 motorway, was revealed earlier this month as part of a £15 billion transport plan for the north.
The One North report, written by five northern cities, called for major investment in the north's transport systems to create an economic powerhouse to rival London.
It received a warm welcome from Chancellor George Osborne, who promised to "commit new money, new infrastructure, new transport and new science".
Councillor Val Slater, executive member for transport at Bradford Council, said while there was "no hope" of constructing a heavy rail link between the two stations, it could be possible to connect them as part of this tram-train plan.
She said: "There is no hope of doing heavy rail because it would mean we would need viaducts and all sorts of things.
"A business case for that was made a number of years ago and was shown not to be viable."
But a pressure group has asked the Department for Transport to look again at the idea of creating a conventional rail link between the two stations, as it prepares to award franchises for two major local rail services.
The Department for Transport is holding a consultation into the new Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine franchises, which are due to be awarded late next year, to start in February 2016.
Responding to the consultation, the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance (UCVR) Sustainable Transport Group has called for the city's two stations to finally get the link-up they need.
Its secretary, Nina Smith, said while a light-rail link was "better than nothing", they still wanted to see a proper line installed between the two stations, possibly by digging a tunnel.
She said: "It is quite ridiculous that in 2014, there is still a short gap between the two railway lines in central Bradford.
"The Bradford district urgently needs regeneration, and better connectivity is one of the necessary components of this.
"Joining up the two railway lines will open up a host of new direct travel opportunities.
A spokesman for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which runs transport body Metro, said: "Members of the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group will have been pleased to see that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has welcomed the recently-published One North report, which includes calls for a better cross-city links."