CONSTRUCTION work on the long-awaited new train station at Low Moor has finally begun, with the scheme set to bring "immense" benefits to Bradford South.

Contractors are now on-site on the £10.8 million project off Cleckheaton Road and the facility, which closed in 1965, is due to re-open next spring.

The development has been beset by delays since it was first mooted in 1999, but supporters of the scheme hailed today's progress as a victory for their persistence.

Councillor Val Slater, deputy leader of Bradford Council and portfolio holder for transport, said: "Hopefully people will believe now that this is actually going to happen, and it will provide a real benefit for the people in Bradford South, who are the only people in the district without direct rail access.

"Local industry will benefit, and it will be brilliant for people using it for shopping and leisure.

"It has taken a long time, but you have to have patience on these things, you have to be persistent.

"My message to people has been never lose hope, these things take time, but we've got there in the end."

The project has been funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Bradford Council and Network Rail, and the new station will serve the Calder Valley Line between Bradford Interchange and Halifax.

There will initially be one train an hour to Bradford and Leeds and one per hour to Halifax and Huddersfield, but discussions are taking place with Grand Central with a view to stopping its London services at the station.

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins (Labour) acknowledged the work contributed to the project by her predecessor Gerry Sutcliffe, ward councillors David Warburton and Sarah Ferriby, and the Friends of Low Moor Station group.

"The benefits this will bring to Bradford South will be immense, not only in terms of jobs and increasing prosperity, but also in terms of housing," she said.

"It opens up this side of Bradford to economic opportunities that we didn't have before, which is fantastic news for the local community.

"Everybody is looking forward to what the station will bring, and it is a real demonstration of how people working together can achieve great things."

Facilities at the new station will include fully-accessible platforms with a footbridge and passenger lifts, modern waiting shelters with CCTV coverage, customer information screens and 130 parking spaces.

There will also be direct access to and from the adjacent Spen Valley Greenway for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cllr Warburton (Lab, Wyke), who is also vice chairman of the friends group, said: "This will be the only station between Bradford and Halifax, so economically, it will bring this area up.

"There are big companies here and we've had a lot of support from them, and the Chamber of Commerce.

"We see lots of economic benefits not just for Wyke and Low Moor, but for the whole of Bradford South."

Cllr Ferriby (Lab, Wyke) added: "This station opens up the whole country for travel, as well as employment and social opportunities for the community.

"There's been nothing like pester power to sell the fact that this was such a necessity for this area.

"Patience and determination have been the key words, and today is a great day."

Low Moor is not the only new station being built in the Bradford district this year - a similar facility under construction at Apperley Bridge is scheduled to open in the coming months.