A GOVERNMENT committee is the latest body to question how a rail scheme to cut journey times between Bradford and Leeds would work.

Last November, the Government announced the electrification of the line linking the two cities as part of its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).

It was the lone bit of good news for Bradford in the plan, which effectively scrapped the Northern Powerhouse Rail line that would include a new station in Bradford.

Since then, local politicians have questioned how feasible the plan was.

The IRP said the work would reduce journey times between Bradford and Leeds from 20 minutes to 12 minutes.

And now the Government’s own Transport Select Committee has questioned the plans. The committee came to Bradford in February to discuss the IRP with local politicians and rail experts.

The committee’s recently published report on the IRP said: “We heard some evidence that cast doubt on the achievability of the 12-minute journeys in practice.

“Gareth Dennis (rail engineer and lecturer) explained that even a two-minute reduction in journey times could be costly and difficult to realise.

“He said ‘what that means is quite a substantial need to increase average speeds on that line. It is a line that is limited to about 60 mph by physical constraints. It is not just by signalling but literally by the curvature of the railway, and by the fact that there are two railway stations sat between Leeds and Bradford.

“'At the moment, the best journey time without stopping is about 17 minutes. Savings do not come from going from 60 to 75 [mph]. They are going to come from incredibly expensive work to increase the speeds at the low-speed approaches into Bradford or into Leeds.

“There is no easy way to fix that [at Leeds] because it is an incredibly complicated series of junctions overlaid on top of each other.

“'In the case of Bradford, it will be very difficult to reach those journey time savings without substantial remodelling'."

The report added: “Bradford Council said that the 12-minute journey time ‘is considered impossible to deliver without sacrificing existing services on this line'.”

The Telegraph & Argus asked the Department for Transport for a response.

A spokesman said: "The 12-minute journey time between Leeds and Bradford referenced in the IRP is based on analysis from Network Rail and refers to the non-stop journey time between the two cities.

"This is set to be achieved through a combination of electrification and track alignment enhancements to make the journey quicker and easier for passengers.”