The campaign to electrify the Leeds-Harrogate-York railway line has taken a major step forward after council leaders unveiled a £100m bid for Government support as warnings were made the line needs significant investment if services are to improve.
Next week a partnership of North Yorkshire, York and Harrogate councils, together with Metro, will formally present the bid to the Government and yesterday Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough, MP, championed the campaign at a launch event at Harrogate railway station.
Leading councillors from the partnership signed a letter which will be sent next week to Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, enclosing the business case and urging the Government to provide the vital £100m investment in the line.
Metro Chairman, Coun James Lewis, said yesterday: “...we’ve reached a point where services can’t be improved without major infrastructure work. “Electrification would bring more and more modern trains to this important inter-regional route, provide relief from overcrowding, provide an attractive and environmentally-friendly alternative for car drivers so reducing congestion and help the local economies along its route,” he added.
Any decisions about whether to support the scheme are likely to be some way off but campaigners say electrifying the route would allow trains to run at least every 15 minutes between Leeds and Harrogate as well as boost the frequency over the Knaresborough-York section of the route.
North Yorkshire County Council, Metro, York Council and Harrogate Borough Council, Network Rail, Northern and Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, have been working with consultants looking at the modernisation of the line.