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Rail operator plans new 140mph service to London
A rail operator has revealed plans to introduce new 140mph inter-city services between Bradford and London and major cities in the north.
Alliance Rail Holdings has published proposals for direct services every two hours between Bradford Interchange and London Euston via Manchester Victoria, Crewe and the West Coast Main Line (WCML).
The company also wants to restore Bradford’s long-lost direct rail links to two major northern cities by operating a Hull to Liverpool Lime Street service via Bradford every two hours.
In the final part of its three-pronged bid, Alliance wants to run direct services from Skipton and Ilkley to London Kings Cross via the East Coast Main Line (ECML), providing a boost for passengers in the Aire Valley and Wharfedale.
Alliance, owned by Berlin-based Deutsche Bahn, one of the world’s biggest transport companies, is holding talks with train manufacturers with a view to building a fleet of 140mph trains to operate the services.
The ‘duel fuel’ trains would be capable of operating from overhead electric wires on the main line and then switching to their own power provided by onboard diesel engines on non-electrified routes.
Ian Yeowart, managing director of Alliance, said the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) was aware of his company’s plans and will be asked to approve them.
Mr Yeowart said: “Subject to the proposal being accepted by the ORR, it is planned to begin the roll out of new services on the WCML from December 2013, with ECML services and Pennine services following soon after.
“There’s a huge amount of investment backing up these service groups. These proposals are well thought-out.
“No other operator has ever introduced a fleet of new trains, which makes this an exciting proposal.
“In the first phase of work on the WCML, we want to offer a frequent service down the Calder Valley, which has been quite neglected. We’re looking at a high-quality commercial link between Bradford and Manchester Victoria, then on to London.
“For Bradford, it starts to create a high-quality intercity link between itself and Manchester which has been long lost.
“Phase two of the service proposition will be for services serving London King’s Cross from Skipton and Ilkley. Skipton and that area has been deprived over time by GNER and its successor.
“We are looking at a third phase with services that would link Hull and Liverpool right through the Calder Valley.
“That would mean an hourly fast train between Bradford and Manchester.
“Although we don’t anticipate many people catching the train all the way from Hull to Liverpool, we think there’ll be a real demand for the intermediate journeys, from Hull to Bradford, or from Bradford to Manchester or Liverpool.”
Mr Yeowart was heavily involved with Grand Central’s successful bid to introduce a Bradford Interchange to London King’s Cross service before he left the company.
Grand Central, which introduced its new Bradford to London service on the ECML earlier this summer, said: “Grand Central welcomes new entrants into the market as this shows that open access operators are able to meet passenger demand for new journey opportunities that franchised operators are unable to.”