Leeds Bradford Airport rail link ‘should be created sooner than 2023’

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Bosses at Leeds Bradford Airport have called for the creation of a parkway rail station serving the site to be brought forward from the current date of 2023.

Leeds City Council’s executive board gave approval to the outline schedule for a scheme to build a parkway station on the Leeds-Harrogate railway line last June.

The opening of the station is expected to significantly cut down journey times to the airport, which is currently only accessible by bus or car.

But officials at the airport say the delivery of the station needs to be accelerated “if the economic benefits and job opportunities LBA can offer are to be realised quickly”.

A spokesman said: “The obstacles to delivery are few, the train line exists, new rolling stock isn’t required, funding has been identified from the Leeds Transport Strategy, the foundations are in place to capitalise on the benefits the station could offer. The design, procurement and construction of the station needs to happen quicker however.

“More than this, if the station is to fully capitalise on the opportunity it presents, services need to run every 15 minutes.

“If we are to help reduce CO2 and NOx emissions and achieve true modal shift away from the car, then passengers need to know a train service is frequent as well as fast & reliable.

“The delivery of a 300-plus space park-and-ride facility at the station with further add to the wide ranging benefits of the scheme. This will significantly cut down on traffic congestion into Leeds with all the environmental benefits that come with this.”

In response, a spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Work on developing the proposals for the airport parkway station as part of the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme is progressing well, with further details to be presented for public consultation later in the year.”

Separately, the airport is promising a “new and expanded Yorkshire Premier Lounge offering more seating, improved facilities and a higher quality environment”.

Bosses say there will be extra food and beverage offerings throughout the terminal, as well as major improvements to check-in, security, immigration and passenger flows around the terminal.

A spokesman said long haul destinations are to be targeted in 2018 to meet the needs of local people.