IT’S CLEAR from these pages that trolleybuses for Leeds are widely disliked and seen for what they are: a very inferior substitute for a modern transport system. Manchester’s tram system is held up as the one to emulate, but the Leeds ‘supertram’ was derided by the government as being unaffordable.
Maybe the trap it fell into was of having a route which was to be completely new. Many forget that the Manchester tram system started from two British Rail lines stitched together with a relatively short and affordable city centre street link. Maybe Leeds should look at something similar to get its tram network off the ground.
The obvious first line would be to run trams on the present National Rail line between Leeds and Horsforth. Most passenger journeys on this line are between these points and the intervening stations at Headingley and Burley Park. If trams took over this stopping service then National Rail trains could run non stop between Horsforth and Leeds making the faster journeys more attractive to Harrogate commuters.
The tram would share this line, adding in additional stops at Leeds Ring Road/Hawksworth. Then once it reached Horsforth it could branch out on a new stretch of line through a deep cutting or cut and cover tunnel to the airport. You then have the first Leeds tram line built at an affordable cost.
The trams would use Platform 1 at Leeds station and a future extension would see their tracks continuing through the station concourse (yes, expensive) onto New Station Street and via the Corn Exchange and Central Bus Station to St James Hospital and Seacroft
Andrew Batty, Keswick Grange, East Keswick.