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West Yorkshire's commuters are to benefit from more than 2,000
extra seats each day after Transport Secretary Philip Hammond
announced today that twenty additional rail carriages are to be
deployed on routes into Leeds.
These additional carriages will be used to provide more
peak-time capacity between Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford,
Ilkley and Skipton.
"This is very good news for the many people who have to travel
on overcrowded commuter services every day and also represents a
welcome boost for the local economy in these difficult times," said
Metro Chairman Cllr Chris Greaves.
"Passenger numbers on West Yorkshire's rail network have grown
by over 50 per cent over the past decade but the only significant
increase in train capacity over that period has come from Metro's
innovative £20m partnership with Yorkshire Forward and
"That initiative saw the introduction of six additional trains
or 1,700 additional seats on peak-time trains into and out of Leeds
in 2006, but only went part-way to solving the overcrowding
"We have been pressing for these additional carriages and are
pleased that this announcement will see an additional 2,200 seats
peak day on four of the busiest routes in and out of Leeds from
The five additional, electric trains, each of four carriages,
will allow an additional peak-time service to run each day on the
lines to Ilkley, Doncaster and Skipton, with additional seats also
available on the Leeds - Bradford Forster Square route. This in
turn will allow some carriages to be released to provide more seats
on the Caldervale Line between Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and
Ian Bevan, Managing Director, Northern Rail said: "We are
delighted with today's announcement. We've attracted 36% more
passengers since we began operating in 2004 and have been working
closely with the Department for Transport and other partners to
introduce much needed additional capacity. These carriages will
enable us to provide an extra 600,000 seats every year for
passengers on peak time services in and around Leeds from
The additional carriages are planned to provide seating and
standing capacity for an extra 3,173 passengers every day - 1,907
during the three-hour morning peak and 1,266 during the three-hour
afternoon peak. The £10m investment covers the net cost of
additional passenger services for the period from April 2011 to the
Northern Rail franchise end date of 15 September 2013.
But Cllr Greaves added that he saw the introduction of the
additional trains as only a first step in improving the local rail
"While this is very welcome news, I am conscious that other
routes also suffer from overcrowding and I hope that further
additional carriages will be secured in the near future," he
"The extra capacity will also help Metro's proposals for new
stations at Kirkstall Forge, Apperley Bridge and Low Moor, and mean
we can continue to develop local rail services as the quick,
convenient and comfortable way to get around the City Region.
"West Yorkshire has a comprehensive inter-urban and suburban
rail network, with 12 lines and 67 stations, which has a huge role
to play in stimulating economic growth, combatting growing road
congestion and reducing carbon emissions."