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A report by Network Rail has highlighted the potential for
passenger growth into Leeds Rail Station to increase by 20% in the
next four years, and by as much as 68% by 2029.
The Northern Route Utilisation Strategy identifies current and
future overcrowding on several key West Yorkshire routes, including
north trans-Pennine services between Leeds and Huddersfield,
Airedale and Wharfedale services from Ilkley and Skipton and on
services from Wakefield Westgate. It recommends lengthening several
key commuter services, providing track improvements at places such
as Horsforth and additional platforms at Leeds.
"Network Rail's report confirms what West Yorkshire train
passengers have known for some time; that patronage is increasing
while investment in new carriages and services hasn't grown to
match," said Metro Chairman Cllr Chris Greaves.
"Northern's franchise was famously let as a 'no-growth'
franchise, yet it now carries over a third more passengers than it
did when it started in 2004. Working with Metro and Yorkshire
Forward, a few extra carriages were leased in 2006 but they are
nowhere near enough to meet the current demand, let alone the
predicted 20% growth in the next four years and 68% by 2029.
"Metro has consistently argued for high-speed rail, but we also
recognise that investment in the so-called 'classic' railway is
long overdue, if we are to meet our targets for economic growth and
reductions in harmful CO2. Planning for new carriages
and electrified routes needs to start now, before the local rail
network buckles under the strain."