Rail experts, councillors and MPs give views on Bradford scheme

An artist's impression of the proposed central station

An artist's impression of the proposed central station

First published in Bradford Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by

An ambitious proposal for a cross-rail link through Bradford has created deep divisions in opinion across Bradford, with some describing it as “absolutely essential” to the city and others branding it “wildly optimistic”.

The plan, unveiled yesterday by businessmen Andrew Mason and John Pennington, would replace the Interchange and Forster Square rail stations with a new glass-sided four-track central station on a new viaduct across Leeds Road, linking into the planned Westfield retail mall.

Today, Councillor Chris Greaves, deputy chairman of transport authority Metro and a Conservative councillor on Bradford Council, said: “The present view of Bradford Council and Metro is that it’s a non-starter.

“But I have passed the report on to Metro officers and asked them to prepare an urgent report to see if the latest submission changes things. So we have not discounted it and are looking at it.

“The main issue will be cost. The estimate of £100 million is wildly optimistic because you don’t get much for £100 million these days.

“The station at Apperley Bridge is about £8 million and the new entrance at Leeds Station is £15 million, so if you look at these comparatively small changes, how do you build a mile of new track, a new station, viaduct and electrification for £100 million?

“What’s more, the previous secretary of the Treasury said there’s no money left.”

Coun Greaves also questioned the practicalities of linking the fully electrified lines to the north of the district with the non-electrified lines to the south.

He said: “Do you say that the trains using the Airedale and Wharfedale lines at the moment, which are electric 333s, have to be replaced by old diesels?

“Will this really help Bradford? If anything there’s a danger it might actually hurt Bradford because people would just get on a train and go straight through.”

But Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I am a big fan of the plan. When we are trying to attract investment to Bradford, it’s the communication links that are absolutely essential, so something like this has the potential to transform Bradford’s economy.”

When asked about the funding, Mr Davies said: “We are in a tough economic climate and it’s not going to be easy to pay for, but the first step is to get everyone signed up to the fact that it’s a good idea first.”

James Vasey, chairman of Bradford Rail Users’ Group, said: “It’s a very well planned proposal which has taken time, effort and money. It’s something the rail users’ group supports because it would be a new hub for transport in Bradford.

“We know we’re in a tight situation nationally, but if we can come back with a regeneration argument there will still be money around.”

Bradford East MP David Ward said: “I welcome this because we need some fresh thinking. We are in the doldrums in respect of that part of the city centre.”

In terms of funding, he said the Liberal Democrat manifesto suggested that money for major road schemes should be redirected into public transport and specifically the rail network, re-balancing the economy with more ‘green jobs’.

Bradford West MP Marsha Singh said: “The political reality is that we are going to face major cuts that will affect each part of society, including local authorities who will find it difficult to protect front-line services.

“To resurrect this project at a time when £6 billion of cuts are imminent is going to prove pretty futile.”

His fellow Labour MP, Gerry Sutcliffe, who represents Bradford South, was more optimistic.

He said: “It’s a feasible scheme and I would support it because it’s a chance to get regeneration moving again in Bradford.”

When asking about funding, Mr Sutcliffe said: “We would have to look to Metro and the Department for Transport.”

Rupert Brennan Brown, of Grand Central, which starts operating direct trains between Bradford and London tomorrow, said: “These plans are certainly ambitious but anything that enhances connection and interchange facilities between Bradford’s two railway stations would be welcomed by rail users.”

Carolyn Watson, of Northern Rail, the biggest train operating company in the district, said: “We’re open to discussion to help develop these proposals, which are at a very early stage, with implementation over a decade away.

“We would be looking to determine what service pattern would serve any new station, while ensuring the city does not lose the excellent rail links it already has.”

A spokesman for Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure, said: “We are aware of this local aspiration and it has been raised before.

“However, such a scheme is likely to cost multi millions, for which we are not funded.

“If the interested parties have a detailed feasibility study and have identified potential funding sources we would be more than happy to speak to them.”

Chris Aldred, administrator of Bradford Cathedral, said the schemes had pluses and minuses.

He said plus points included the fact it made use of part of the Broadway area, would allow people to access the proposed shopping development without using their cars and would connect two railway dead ends that were just a short distance apart.

But on the issue of the proposed route, which passes close to the front of the Cathedral, Mr Aldred said: “I can’t quite see trains just trundling beneath the Cathedral because that would cut us off even more from the city. We are keen to have a look at the proposals in more detail.”

Councillor Dave Green, regeneration spokesman for the Council’s Labour group, said: “It’s something that the Labour group would look at and consider, but if it proves to be financially impossible then we have to ask if we should be putting time and resources into it when we have got other pressing priorities across the district.”

He added that “much more detail” was needed about the scheme.

Comments (19)

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4:24pm Fri 21 May 10

ravacity says...

leeds was given five hundred million to refurbish its station also a similar amount to complete its inner ring road,sheffield also has had its station updated and its inner ring road finished, so its about time bradford was given its fair share to get this scheme going but with people like councillor greaves we dont stand much chance.
leeds was given five hundred million to refurbish its station also a similar amount to complete its inner ring road,sheffield also has had its station updated and its inner ring road finished, so its about time bradford was given its fair share to get this scheme going but with people like councillor greaves we dont stand much chance. ravacity
  • Score: 0

8:32am Sat 22 May 10

informer says...

Yet another crackpot idea. Let’s spend millions on feasibility studies and consultants and then decide we cannot afford it like the canal. What planet do these idiots live on. It certainly isn’t planet Bradford. But then again we could do with another building site in Bradford to replace the puddle when/if it ever gets finished
Yet another crackpot idea. Let’s spend millions on feasibility studies and consultants and then decide we cannot afford it like the canal. What planet do these idiots live on. It certainly isn’t planet Bradford. But then again we could do with another building site in Bradford to replace the puddle when/if it ever gets finished informer
  • Score: 0

9:31am Sat 22 May 10

bwwb says...

150 years ago this scheme was scuppered by George Hudson, 100 years ago the Midland Railway drew up a scheme but it was killed off by WW1. 50 years ago it was discussed before Broadway was redeveloped. Every 50 years this idea is raised and then abandoned. If these business men really want us to spend millions on transport then spend it on joining the M606 to the M65 at Colne along with the Pudsey - Dishforth link (both schemes abandoned in the 1970's) and let's really put Bradford on the map.
150 years ago this scheme was scuppered by George Hudson, 100 years ago the Midland Railway drew up a scheme but it was killed off by WW1. 50 years ago it was discussed before Broadway was redeveloped. Every 50 years this idea is raised and then abandoned. If these business men really want us to spend millions on transport then spend it on joining the M606 to the M65 at Colne along with the Pudsey - Dishforth link (both schemes abandoned in the 1970's) and let's really put Bradford on the map. bwwb
  • Score: 0

10:11am Sat 22 May 10

hardgravity says...

Big idea, will it happen?



This IS Bradford, what do you think?

Maude and her cronies seem intent on destroying the city with crackpot lakes and canals.


PLEASE can we get this rail link finish what the Victorians started all that time ago!!!! saaword, plan-real, how appropriate!
Big idea, will it happen? This IS Bradford, what do you think? Maude and her cronies seem intent on destroying the city with crackpot lakes and canals. PLEASE can we get this rail link finish what the Victorians started all that time ago!!!! saaword, plan-real, how appropriate! hardgravity
  • Score: 0

10:41am Sat 22 May 10

Joedavid says...

Even if built will the train routes come ?
Even if built will the train routes come ? Joedavid
  • Score: 0

10:57am Sat 22 May 10

Moon on a stick says...

"An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?
"An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor? Moon on a stick
  • Score: 0

11:54am Sat 22 May 10

BigShak says...

informer wrote:
Yet another crackpot idea. Let’s spend millions on feasibility studies and consultants and then decide we cannot afford it like the canal. What planet do these idiots live on. It certainly isn’t planet Bradford. But then again we could do with another building site in Bradford to replace the puddle when/if it ever gets finished
Well said!!!!! What we need is "Less Talk more Action" from these guys that are running "Bradford"
[quote][p][bold]informer[/bold] wrote: Yet another crackpot idea. Let’s spend millions on feasibility studies and consultants and then decide we cannot afford it like the canal. What planet do these idiots live on. It certainly isn’t planet Bradford. But then again we could do with another building site in Bradford to replace the puddle when/if it ever gets finished[/p][/quote]Well said!!!!! What we need is "Less Talk more Action" from these guys that are running "Bradford" BigShak
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Sat 22 May 10

The Odeon Crusader says...

Moon on a stick wrote:
"An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?
I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...
[quote][p][bold]Moon on a stick[/bold] wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?[/p][/quote]I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre... The Odeon Crusader
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Sat 22 May 10

Joedavid says...

The Odeon Crusader wrote:
Moon on a stick wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?
I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...
As the demolishion been stopped?
What is happening???
It is still there.
[quote][p][bold]The Odeon Crusader[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Moon on a stick[/bold] wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?[/p][/quote]I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...[/p][/quote]As the demolishion been stopped? What is happening??? It is still there. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Sat 22 May 10

The Odeon Crusader says...

Joedavid wrote:
The Odeon Crusader wrote:
Moon on a stick wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?
I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...
As the demolishion been stopped? What is happening??? It is still there.
The planning application to demolish the Odeon was only approved last September. Planning permission has not yet been granted - that is subject to a Section 106 Agreement that is supposedly being worked through, although Yorkshire Forward remain adamant that it is coming down :(
[quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Odeon Crusader[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Moon on a stick[/bold] wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?[/p][/quote]I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...[/p][/quote]As the demolishion been stopped? What is happening??? It is still there.[/p][/quote]The planning application to demolish the Odeon was only approved last September. Planning permission has not yet been granted - that is subject to a Section 106 Agreement that is supposedly being worked through, although Yorkshire Forward remain adamant that it is coming down :( The Odeon Crusader
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Sat 22 May 10

Moon on a stick says...

The Odeon Crusader wrote:
Joedavid wrote:
The Odeon Crusader wrote:
Moon on a stick wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?
I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...
As the demolishion been stopped? What is happening??? It is still there.
The planning application to demolish the Odeon was only approved last September. Planning permission has not yet been granted - that is subject to a Section 106 Agreement that is supposedly being worked through, although Yorkshire Forward remain adamant that it is coming down :(
Given there's a Tory Lib Dem gov that wants rid of quangos (such as Yorkshire Forward) then how come Cllr Pennington hasn't been verbal about the Odeon since?
[quote][p][bold]The Odeon Crusader[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Odeon Crusader[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Moon on a stick[/bold] wrote: "An artist's impression" the very words that send shivers down my spine for the fear of wasted money and pipe dreams, still this idea would be great if it were to happen. P.S. is it just me or has Pennington backed off protecting the Odeon since he became a Tory councillor?[/p][/quote]I can assure you that saving the Odeon remains to be on Cllr Pennington's wishlist for the City Centre...[/p][/quote]As the demolishion been stopped? What is happening??? It is still there.[/p][/quote]The planning application to demolish the Odeon was only approved last September. Planning permission has not yet been granted - that is subject to a Section 106 Agreement that is supposedly being worked through, although Yorkshire Forward remain adamant that it is coming down :([/p][/quote]Given there's a Tory Lib Dem gov that wants rid of quangos (such as Yorkshire Forward) then how come Cllr Pennington hasn't been verbal about the Odeon since? Moon on a stick
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Sat 22 May 10

spionkop64 says...

Shouldn't Cllr Greaves be pleased that people are taking an interest in the development of public transport? He is after all supposedly the deputy chair of Metro AND a Bradford Councillor. Instead he scaremongers about old diesel trains being used. This is the problem of having amateur councillors in charge of public transport, apart from a few notable exceptions they could not run a bath let alone a railway. Connectivity Cllr Greaves THAT is what the scheme would be about. All the trains connecting with ALL the buses in one place, something Metro are utterly incapable of. I say to Cllr Greaves, either back Bradford or resign and let someone who will step forward. People like Greaves with their nay saying old fashioned thinking have helped hold this city back, time for new ideas and if Greaves is not up to the job, then time for new faces.
Shouldn't Cllr Greaves be pleased that people are taking an interest in the development of public transport? He is after all supposedly the deputy chair of Metro AND a Bradford Councillor. Instead he scaremongers about old diesel trains being used. This is the problem of having amateur councillors in charge of public transport, apart from a few notable exceptions they could not run a bath let alone a railway. Connectivity Cllr Greaves THAT is what the scheme would be about. All the trains connecting with ALL the buses in one place, something Metro are utterly incapable of. I say to Cllr Greaves, either back Bradford or resign and let someone who will step forward. People like Greaves with their nay saying old fashioned thinking have helped hold this city back, time for new ideas and if Greaves is not up to the job, then time for new faces. spionkop64
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Sat 22 May 10

DBObserver says...

Some people may say this is a crackpot scheme, but it is less a crackpot scheme than the "Rebuild Bradford Canal" and would produce much more benefit than the canal which was originally closed because the natural water supply was insufficient when most water was going through the mills and pumping canal water back became too costly, also the canal was a major source of cholera and dysentery.

Get this scheme done before the Westfield scheme makes it impossible, if it ever happens, which is looking less and less likely as each day goes by.
Some people may say this is a crackpot scheme, but it is less a crackpot scheme than the "Rebuild Bradford Canal" and would produce much more benefit than the canal which was originally closed because the natural water supply was insufficient when most water was going through the mills and pumping canal water back became too costly, also the canal was a major source of cholera and dysentery. Get this scheme done before the Westfield scheme makes it impossible, if it ever happens, which is looking less and less likely as each day goes by. DBObserver
  • Score: 0

8:05pm Sat 22 May 10

Writer says...

At last a brilliant suggestion. I note the usual lukewarm response from the Council. Of course it will cost a lot of money, these things always do. If like me you drive to the east coast you will have become aware of the road improvements at the M62/M1 junction near Leeds that were made approx 10 years ago. it shortens the journey bt about 20 minutes. coming back you go through a huge deep cutting about a mile long. How much did this cost? Sorry no problem it's a motorway. Why do we always have problems with costs for rail but not road? The sooner this link is built, the sooner Bradford will haul itself out of the doldrums. Regarding the concerns of the Cathedral, what could be better than worshipping God on one side and having trains go past on the other?
At last a brilliant suggestion. I note the usual lukewarm response from the Council. Of course it will cost a lot of money, these things always do. If like me you drive to the east coast you will have become aware of the road improvements at the M62/M1 junction near Leeds that were made approx 10 years ago. it shortens the journey bt about 20 minutes. coming back you go through a huge deep cutting about a mile long. How much did this cost? Sorry no problem it's a motorway. Why do we always have problems with costs for rail but not road? The sooner this link is built, the sooner Bradford will haul itself out of the doldrums. Regarding the concerns of the Cathedral, what could be better than worshipping God on one side and having trains go past on the other? Writer
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Sun 23 May 10

mad matt says...

The obvious solution would be to electrify the Bradford - Pudsey - Bramley - Leeds line, then build the new station. This would allow through services from Skipton and Ilkley to Leeds via Shipley, Bradford and Pudsey.
It would not be viable to electrify up to Halifax, but a manchester - Halifax, Bradford, Shipley to Leeds service could be run using diesels.
The obvious solution would be to electrify the Bradford - Pudsey - Bramley - Leeds line, then build the new station. This would allow through services from Skipton and Ilkley to Leeds via Shipley, Bradford and Pudsey. It would not be viable to electrify up to Halifax, but a manchester - Halifax, Bradford, Shipley to Leeds service could be run using diesels. mad matt
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Sun 23 May 10

eebygum says...

They could save some money with the via-duct there must be tons of stone left from all the disused railway bridges that the conservatives of yester-year shut down. If they hadn't let people build on them they could be used as bus lanes. The congestion at Tong could have been avoided for one example.
They could save some money with the via-duct there must be tons of stone left from all the disused railway bridges that the conservatives of yester-year shut down. If they hadn't let people build on them they could be used as bus lanes. The congestion at Tong could have been avoided for one example. eebygum
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Sun 23 May 10

eebygum says...

The narrow minded coucil and local MP's have ignored good suggestions for years. Why should this be any different. The plus's are there for eveyone to see. The Media museum moved to the renovated Odeon to complement the Alhambra, Westfield shopping center and the park at the heart would be a major attraction.
The narrow minded coucil and local MP's have ignored good suggestions for years. Why should this be any different. The plus's are there for eveyone to see. The Media museum moved to the renovated Odeon to complement the Alhambra, Westfield shopping center and the park at the heart would be a major attraction. eebygum
  • Score: 0

9:14pm Sun 23 May 10

mad matt says...

Does the newspaper article mention the Odeon?
Does the newspaper article mention the Odeon? mad matt
  • Score: 0

12:17am Mon 24 May 10

bcfc1903 says...

No,but i did !! John Pennington who's one of the backers of the Xrail scheme is also backing the refurbishment of the Odeon building.
No,but i did !! John Pennington who's one of the backers of the Xrail scheme is also backing the refurbishment of the Odeon building. bcfc1903
  • Score: 0

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