A "GAME-CHANGING" direct rail connection from Wharfedale to London is on the cards with the opening of the proposed Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway.

Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel says he has secured a commitment for the London connection to the station which is set to be built in Bramhope.

London North Eastern Railway will run six trains per day on the Harrogate line and the new station will be the key stop between Leeds and Harrogate.

It will provide a direct London connection to Wharfedale as well as cut journey times to Leeds down to 12 minutes.

Mr Sobel announced the development following a meeting he chaired between Leeds Bradford Airport, Network Rail, LNER, Northern Rail and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. He wants to see an early opening of the new station, which he says will provide jobs at the airport, improve Leeds North West’s transport network, reduce traffic on the A660 and improve air quality. The parkway is currently earmarked for completion in 2023.

He said: "We must have a proper strategic plan. Since I took office I have been working to ensure that we see improvements to local rail and bus services.

"This new station will not only attract investment to the airport, creating local jobs, but will provide a viable heavy rail alternative with a park and ride, to commuters in North Leeds and Wharfedale. The new service will cut journey times to Leeds to 12 minutes.

"I have committed to doing all that I can, to work with every agency to get the earliest possible delivery of the new station and to ensure that it is stocked with high quality trains that meet the inevitable demand.

"A London connection to the new station is a gamechanger for our area creating jobs and growth in our local community."

LNER’s commercial manager Paul Smith said: "It was a great pleasure to attend the meeting and I thank Mr Sobel for organising it. We are very excited to be involved.

"Our aim at LNER is to continue to support the local community and economy through greater partnership working and making it even easier to travel by train."

Charles Johnson, Head of Planning and Development at Leeds Bradford Airport, said: "We are pleased that our MP has injected some momentum into these discussions.

"It is so important that we get the necessary infrastructure up and running to realise our potential as an airport and to enable us to provide jobs and growth to the local and regional economy."

Leeds City Council's plans for a parkway station, and its proposed options for a link road, will go out for further public consultation in the new year.