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Promote sustainable tourism

Rail should be at the heart of Yorkshire’s tourism strategy. We want more people to visit our county but we’d rather not have the extra traffic that comes with it. Rail should be the mode of choice for getting to the Dales, North Yorkshire Moors and Pennines, with a network of connecting bus services.

Modern trains should be adapted as ‘tourist trains’ with more luggage and bike space and better views from the windows (as Scotland is currently doing). Currently, a lack rail services causes congestion to regions en route, including West Yorkshire.

We want to promote rail travel as a visitor experience in itself – promoting lines like Settle-Carlisle and Esk Valley, and working with the heritage railway sector, including the North York Moors Railway, Worth Valley Railway and National Railway Museum in York to market Yorkshire’s railway heritage.

Stations in our national parks should be a focus of the local tourism industry with shops and cafes, bike hire and bus links to less accessible locations.

New trains trains and better experience

Light rail

Trams are returning to the UK and Sheffield already has a great network. Proven technology exists for trams to run on conventional railways and we want to see this approach extended to both Leeds and South Yorkshire (where it is being planned). This would allow (for example) a tram-train to use the existing railway from Harrogate into Leeds and then divert to run ‘on street’ to serve the heart of the city centre.

It could also be a way of solving Bradford’s disconnected rail network, linking Forster Square with Bradford Interchange and allowing tram-trains to operate from Leeds via Shipley and Bradford to Halifax.

New trains

An expanding rail network needs new rolling stock. As more lines are electrified the need for diesel trains will diminish – though not entirely. The ageing and inadequate ‘Pacer’ trains have no future in a modern rail network and should be replaced as a matter of urgency by a combination of electric and modern diesel trains.

Any new or refurbished train must meet demanding standards of passenger comfort and accessibility, with extra space for bikes and luggage. Furthermore, we want to see new trains built in the North of England, using Yorkshire suppliers, not imported from the Far East.

A better passenger experience

Passengers want trains that run to time where they can get a seat. We need to get the basics right and that involves investing in better infrastructure as well as modern rolling stock.

Stations are an important, and much neglected, part of the journey. We want to see far better use made of stations, including smaller stations which may not currently have staff. Local businesses and social enterprises should be encouraged to provide retail facilities at smaller stations.

Existing staffed stations should offer a wider range of services, facilities and products. More should be done to encourage active community involvement at stations, helping create a warm and attractive environment that communities can be proud of.

Leeds-Bradford Airport Rail, Not Road.

The proposed road (routes A and B) would serve just 5% of airport customers, according to Rawdon Parish Council’s traffic survey, published in local media. At £50-75m, they are poor value for money.

They also do not bypass the worst congestion, which is further towards Leeds city centre. Route C would only serve 5% of customers for its entire length (19% for part of its length) and it would be impractical and undesirable to impinge on private property to widen the A65 and A658 and put a major road through the village of Rawdon and past Benton Park Secondary School.

A new railway station on the Harrogate Line, with an airport shuttle-bus, would serve the airport better and involve less loss of greenbelt. Indeed, a new road may lead to 1000s of greenbelt houses, actually increasing congestion. A rail stop could also serve as a park-and-ride, reducing congestion. The cost would be around £15m, much less than a road across greenbelt.

InterCity services and connecting the North

Our InterCity services

West Yorkshire has good InterCity connections to London already and plans for future high-speed rail must not leave cities and towns like Wakefield, York, Doncaster and Bradford at a disadvantage.

The new franchise for East Coast should continue to develop with steady improvement in journey times, new trains and new destinations. Where other operators are providing useful services, e.g. Grand Central from Bradford and Halifax and Tees Valley, and Hull Trains from Hull and Brough – they should be encouraged to expand and provide additional services where there is a demand.

Possible new destinations include Huddersfield and Dewsbury. At the moment, the Government seems to do everything it can to discourage this positive example of private enterprise.

Connecting the North

It’s vital that West Yorkshire has good links with other parts of the North. The key Trans-Pennine corridor was supposed to be electrified by the end of 2018, in yet another pre-election Government announcement.

Industry insiders say that it is more likely to happen in 2021 which is totally unacceptable. I believe, and the Yorkshire Party believes, that TransPennine electrification is an urgent necessity and should be given top priority, with new and faster trains alongside an improved local service.

The Calder Valley route, linking Leeds, Bradford and Halifax with Rochdale and Manchester, should be electrified at the same time, to allow an alternative diversionary route across the Pennines and meet rising demand for inter-regional travel.

Other routes which need to be on a rolling programme for electrification include Manchester to Sheffield and Doncaster via Hope Valley; all of the West Yorkshire local rail network; Northallerton to Middlesbrough, Doncaster to Grimsby/Cleethorpes and York to Scarborough.

The current ‘stop-start’ approach to rail electrification increases costs and limits the benefits of network electrification. Network Rail must be given the resources to get on with the job – a job that should have started years ago.

Why invest in rail?

Why invest in rail?

It’s about more than getting from A to B, quickly and safely. Investment in rail must be based around clear criteria that will benefit the region as whole. Our key objectives are:

  • Promote sustainable economic growth across Yorkshire.
  • Reduce global warming by transferring people and goods from road to rail.
  • Improve community cohesion by better access to jobs, education and services.

Is High-Speed Rail the answer?

We’d say it’s only part of the answer and we need investment that brings results in the next five years as well as the longer term. The original proposals for HS2, from London to Leeds and Manchester, were badly thought through.

The idea of a new high-speed terminus at Leeds, at right-angles to the main station with a long walk from one to the other, was particularly ill-considered. We recognise that capacity on existing north-south routes is a problem and the case for a new route is strong. But it must be far better linked in to the existing rail network.

The pre-election proposal for a ‘HS3’ linking Merseyside with Manchester, Leeds and the east coast makes sense – with the same caveats. We would say that HS3 is much more important than the London-centric HS2 proposal which offers greater economic and environmental benefits to the North of England. We would like to see a new route running east to west, using the former Woodhead Tunnel under the Pennines – offering speed and capacity and forming part of a high-speed route via Sheffield to the south.

Put simply – high-speed trains from Manchester to Leeds would use the re-opened tunnel and then head north to Leeds, with another route branching southwards via Sheffield to Birmingham and London. This ‘triangular’ junction would allow high-speed trains from the south via Sheffield to reach Leeds and continue northwards to Tees-side, Newcastle and Scotland.

West Yorkshire Transport Consultation Response

The West Yorkshire Transport Consultation aims to put Yorkshire back on track. Stewart Arnold, Leader of the Yorkshire Party, responds.

While I have focused on issues in West Yorkshire, since that is the scope of the consultation and the Combined Authority, I have included some comments on adjacent regions, since they affect West Yorkshire’s connectivity. I have focused on rail, since it is the best option for taking cars off the road and therefore helping bus services and remaining car users.

An inadequate transport network

West Yorkshire, and the whole of Yorkshire and the North, suffers from under-investment in transport. Whilst per head infrastructure spending in London and the South-East on transport is £5426, in Yorkshire it’s just £581 (IPPR North report 2014). And you get what you pay for. Whilst the South-east has benefitted from new trains, new lines and station modernisation, Yorkshire struggles on with out-dated and inadequate trains and poor quality station infrastructure.

Yorkshire and the North need a modern, expanding rail network that is fully integrated with all forms of transport. It’s vital for how we live – getting to work, education and leisure – and is essential for a growing economy. Growth follows investment as London clearly shows. A long term plan connecting both within and outside of our region could be the catalyst for a stronger Yorkshire that drives a UK that works for all parts and regions.

Recent announcements on rail electrification are welcome but we want to see a clear timetable and funding for these projects, with schemes that are already committed but seriously delayed (e.g. TransPennine route) being given greater priority.

10 Reasons why trains are best travel option in Europe – Part II

As mentioned in last post trains are best travel option in Europe and there are many reasons that support this fact. Some more points are as follows:

4. Most of the Railway Stations in Europe are located centrally in town. This is very helpful if you are unaware of the city. This also helps you to reach any other amenities without any problem.

5. Railway Stations and Europe trains provide enough options to you for relaxing. You can go to bar, enjoy a meal and experience the comfort of trains in Europe. There are also some entertainment facilities.

6. Trains in Europe provide you an amazing sleeper services. This helps you to take comfortable sleep and it is much cheaper than similar facilities in planes.

7. Fares in trains are quite affordable as long as the comfort and value of services is taken in to consideration. You can book you tickets online 3 month in advance. Some trains like Eurostar provides tickets 4 months in advance for their London Paris Train or London to Brussels Train. Moreover as most of these trains operate on Electric power, rising prices of fuels doesn’t impact their fares.

8. The reach of European trains is everywhere in Europe. Europe’s train network is very vast and you can find trains to every place of Europe. There are some places where trains are the only option to reach.

9. You can also enjoy great discount on train tickets with Rail Passes. Rail passes are available for every train in Europe that will help you to save money on your travel. You can also avail the facility of discount offers and special deals.

10. Traveling by train is an amazing experience that you cannot get traveling by any other travel option. There are many amazing train journeys that are famous not only in Europe but throughout the world.