- Improve access to Leeds Bradford Airport by public transport.
- Provide park and ride opportunities for people to travel to local urban centres.
- Connect the airport and surrounding existing and proposed employment locations at Leeds Bradford Airport to employees and customers throughout the City Region and beyond including the proposed North West Leeds Employment Hub adjacent to Leeds Bradford Airport.
- Connect residential areas to local urban centres such as Leeds and Harrogate for typically commuting and leisure purposes.
What has been done so far?
West Yorkshire Combined Authority appointed a development partner to progress the business case for Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station on the Harrogate line. The Outline Business Case* including technical and business case work was approved in February 2020, with Network Rail’s equivalent Guide to Rail Investment Process (GRIP) Stage 3 approval acquired in March 2020.
The first phase of public engagement on the station took place in February to April 2019 as part of the wider ‘Connecting Leeds Bradford Airport’ engagement exercise.
The Combined Authority has recently appointed a development partner to progress to Full Business Case which we anticipate will be finalised by mid 2021. The implementation of the scheme will be subject to the relevant rail industry approvals, availability of funding, planning permission, land acquisition and technical and business case feasibility.
* Business Case – Provides justification for undertaking a project. It evaluates the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and provides a rationale for the preferred solution. (APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition)
Where will the proposed new Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station be located?
The station would be situated on the existing Harrogate line, approximately 360m south of Bramhope tunnel.
What other locations for the station have been considered?
Options for the station location have been driven by track alignment, signal locations, existing structures on the rail network including Bramhope tunnel, and proximity to Leeds Bradford Airport.
Why is the station not being built at the Airport Terminal building?
An outline options appraisal study estimated that a heavy rail link that connects the Harrogate line to the airport terminal building would cost in the region of £350m-£400m, due largely to the topography of the area which would require tunnelling. Although the total cost is not yet final, the proposed Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station is expected to deliver a similar level of benefits to those of a station at the airport, at a significantly lower total cost. The scale of investment needs to recognise the likely passenger demand and value for money for the scheme, and to warrant such a significant investment the airport would need to grow substantially. The Parkway proposal offers a deliverable and attractive proposition which can be delivered relatively quickly.
How will airport passengers connect between the Parkway Station and airport terminal?
It is anticipated that a shuttle bus will be used to transport passengers between the Parkway Station and the airport terminal. Leeds City Council is currently exploring connectivity options to ensure that passengers can get to and from the airport with ease and confidence, with a desire to make the mode of transport environmentally friendly. This could be a shuttle bus or semi-autonomous vehicle that will operate between the Parkway Station and airport terminal, using a dedicated pick-up point in front of the station building. Work is ongoing to identify the most effective mode of transport and travel route, alongside what improvements are needed to deliver these requirements. The proposed additions/changes will be the subject of future consultation by Leeds City Council.
What is the anticipated journey time between the Parkway Station and terminal building for passengers?
Routing options are being considered through the Connectivity Study being progressed by Leeds City Council, though it is anticipated that the journey time will be approximately 5 minutes.
What is the purpose of the station?
The objectives of the station are to:
When is it likely to be open?
The current programme indicates construction could start in 2022/2023 and conclude in 2024. However, this is subject to the availability of funding, assurance processes of the Combined Authority, the viability of the business case, land acquisition, planning approval and the relevant statutory and rail industry approvals.
Is the proposed Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station definitely going ahead and how will the new station be funded?
Funding to date has included funding from the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP). Further development and implementation of the scheme will be subject to the availability of funding, assurance processes of the Combined Authority, the viability of the business case, land acquisition and the relevant statutory and rail industry approvals including obtaining planning permission. The project is subject to approval at a number of stages prior to the start of construction to ensure the scheme continues to show value for money.
How much will the new station cost?
The anticipated cost of the station is still being determined as part of the development process, currently the cost is anticipated to be around £42m including land, the car park and highway provision.
What provision will the station have for car parking?
Development of suitable car parking provisions at this site will be a continuous process throughout the development of this project. Our current intention is to achieve 350 spaces. The Combined Authority will continue to work with Leeds City Council to develop and deliver the most appropriate car park solution that meets the needs of passengers and balances this with the impact on the local environment.
Vehicle access to the station would be accommodated via a new access road (with a junction onto Scotland Lane), turning circle and a pickup / drop-off point. The station will incorporate parking spaces for blue badge holders and electric charging points, with low energy lighting and CCTV.
Will a charge be made for parking at the station car park?
Most rail station car parks in West Yorkshire do not apply charging, however, some locations are charged on a case-by-case basis. For the Parkway Station, mechanisms will be considered to prohibit airport users parking for free. Charging will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis if it is beneficial to the business case of the scheme which ultimately brings benefit to the passengers (for example, by managing demand and it can help prevent use for unauthorised purposes). A decision is yet to be made on whether there will be a charge for parking at the car park.
Will a new station on the Harrogate line result in any closures of existing stations, or impact on current service provision?
The proposed Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station would be in addition to the existing stations on the Harrogate line and would not result in any station closures.
With regard to potential rail service, the Combined Authority are working with the rail industry and Transport for the North to work out a timetable that best serves the demand for passengers on this route.
Will regular timetabled service buses stop at the station in addition to any transport providing a direct connection to the airport?
It is not currently anticipated that public service buses will directly access the Parkway Station car park as Leeds Bradford Airport and Horsforth Station are two existing interchange hubs, and it is not a key objective of the new station to replace them. The Combined Authority will continue to work with Leeds City Council and bus operators to deliver the most appropriate services that meets the needs of passengers.
What train services will call at the station?
Development of a suitable timetable for train services on this route is due to commence and will be a continuous process throughout the development of this project. Our current intention is to achieve a minimum of a two trains per hour service pattern at this location, with an aspiration to deliver a four trains per hour service. The Combined Authority will continue to work with the relevant train operators and Transport for the North to deliver the most appropriate timetable that meets the needs of passengers based on the network capacity, availability and suitability of the rolling stock.
Will the station be staffed?
Based on the anticipated footfall, the station will be categorised as a staffed station with station building. The provision of staff at the station, however, is a commercial decision for the operator. The Combined Authority will be working closely with the operator to ensure that a suitable level of staff presence could be provided to the proposed station.
What passenger waiting facilities will the station have?
Sheltered passenger areas will be provided on both platforms. Subject to affordability, the proposed plans include a station building with the potential to accommodate an additional waiting area.
Will the station have facilities to purchase a ticket?
Ticket Vending Machines will be provided at the station.
Will the station have toilets?
Current proposals include the provision of accessible passenger toilet facilities.
All trains calling at the station are equipped with on-board toilet facilities.
Will the station have lifts and be compliant to modern accessibility standards?
Yes, the station will be designed to the latest accessibility standards which will include the provision of passenger lifts to the platforms. These lifts will be larger than those at other stations to ensure there is sufficient capacity for airport passengers with luggage.
How many carriages will the platforms be able to accommodate? Will this be able to cater for future growth?
Platforms are currently designed to accommodate 6-car trains which will be sufficient to meet the requirements of the proposed services.
Who will be responsible for operating and managing the station?
It is envisaged that Northern will operate and manage the station. As the station is further developed this may change and will be reviewed as part of the wider considerations for the Combined Authority.
What will be done for personal security?
In addition to the proposal for the station to be staffed, it will be covered by a CCTV system including cameras located throughout the station platforms and car park. The car park and station building will also have low-energy lighting.
What facilities will be provided for cyclists?
The station will have secure cycle parking facilities. A walking and cycling route is proposed through the station from Cookridge. The Leeds City Council connectivity study is reviewing opportunities to improve active travel connectivity and facilities between the airport, Parkway Station and proposed employment hub. Consideration will be given as part of the connectivity work to review whether any additional cycle connections can be planned for these journeys.
Trains on this line are already very congested. Will building this station make my journey even more crowded?
The Combined Authority is aware that availability of train capacity and seating is a key challenge in this area in particular during peak hours. We are working with the operators on the route to influence their timetable and deployment of rolling stock so that trains are deployed in the way that benefits passengers. In the medium and longer terms, the Combined Authority will work closely with the Department for Transport and Transport for North to support a case for further investment on rolling stock and train capacity.
What other engagement will be taking place in the future?
As part of the planning application there will be a statutory consultation period to provide an opportunity for people to share their views. We anticipate this will occur during Spring 2021.
Leeds City Council and the Combined Authority are also working on how the station connects with with the airport and proposed employment hub and further engagement on these aspect is anticipated to take place during Summer 2021.
Why can’t the old railway line between Otley and Leeds via Yeadon be reopened?
Whilst the disused railway line between Otley and Leeds remains largely intact, reopening disused railway line requires significant capital and revenue funding which is not available at the moment. At present, the Combined Authority has no plans for reopening this line and we are developing a new station to serve Leeds Bradford Airport which is more affordable.
However, we will in due course be developing a new rail policy and reviewing network gaps, including reopening lines, new stations, services and infrastructure will be part of the Combined Authority’s considerations.
How will this serve local residents and workers?
The Parkway Station will offer improved connectivity to local residents and those working in the area. The proposed car park facilities will provide opportunity for residents to park at the station and continue their onwards journeys by train, avoiding the need to drive into city centres, especially Leeds or Harrogate. Equally the station will have the potential to provide walking and cycling routes from the highway network and connect into the existing footpath network to the east for Cookridge. This will give residents in the local area the opportunity to access the station by cycling and walking.
What impact will the station have on Scotland Lane?
Leeds City Council and the Combined Authority are working jointly to assess and identify any required improvements to Scotland Lane as a result of the proposals. This may include some road widening between the station and Whitehouse Lane to facilitate shuttle bus connections, but this depends on the outcome of the connectivity options work.
Would an upgrade to facilities at Horsforth station be a better solution as opposed to building a new rail station?
The option of serving Horsforth rail station with an airport shuttle bus service was previously considered. The overall journey time of this option is less attractive than a Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station option. Also, due to the constraints of the local highway network near Horsforth station, it would be a challenge to provide a reliable shuttle bus service between Horsforth station and Leeds Bradford Airport. Whilst it may be feasible to operate a bus link between Horsforth station and Leeds Bradford Airport, doing so would not meet all the objectives of the Parkway Station.
The Parkway Station will also serve as a park and ride station, offering commuters and other travellers greater opportunity to travel to town and city centres without having to use their cars for the entire journey. This requires a car parking facility, currently shown at 350 spaces in outline designs for Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station. Horsforth station currently has 69 spaces and work to investigate options to increase parking facilities here showed only 10 additional spaces could be achieved without the acquisition of third-party land. The investigation also showed that it is not possible to make the required highway improvements that would allow safe or efficient operation of a much larger car park at Horsforth station without major impact on listed buildings at the entrance to Horsforth station and on the junction between Station Road and Troy Road which provides access to the station.
Another objective of Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station is to improve connectivity for existing and proposed businesses operating in and around Leeds Bradford Airport including to support delivery of the proposed employment hub on land adjacent to the airport. An improved Horsforth station is unlikely to be as attractive to these businesses compared with a new station located closer to their operations.
One other significant consideration is the passenger facilities at Horsforth station, which do not match the expectation identified by stakeholders for the Parkway Station. In order to achieve the specification for a Parkway Station, Horsforth would require significant improvements to its passenger facilities and again, the space available suggests that this would be very challenging.
Will provision of the Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station reduce the need to drive to the airport?
The station provides a more sustainable alternative option for trips to and from the airport, helping the Airport’s ambitions for improving the mode share of public transport and other sustainable modes for both passengers and staff. Experience at other regional UK airports suggests however that rail will not be a viable alternative for all people travelling to and from the airport and therefore there will still be a need to accommodate car trips and for the airport to provide car parking.
Is the Combined Authority investing in a new station because Leeds Bradford Airport is promoting a replacement terminal building?
No. Proposals for a new station serving the airport have been in development for some time. We expect the station scheme will still be developed regardless of the outcome of the airport terminal planning application.
Can you justify the need for a new station given that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly lower levels of people using public transport?
We are aware of the current impact COVID-19 is having on levels of public transport usage, however we expect public transport usage to recover in the medium to long term. We also believe that investment in new public transport infrastructure will play an important role in the region’s recovery.
Why are you promoting access to the airport when the Combined Authority has declared a climate emergency?
Tackling the climate emergency is one of the Combined Authority’s top priorities, and decarbonising the transport sector is essential to achieving this. Current access to Leeds Bradford Airport is not to the required standard, and these plans will help to ensure that people are able to travel there in a more sustainable way.
The Parkway Station seeks to meet current demand for sustainable travel to and from Leeds Bradford Airport and the proposed employment hub. The Parkway Station will help ease current congestion and associated air quality issues by improving access by public transport, by encouraging fewer people to drive to the airport. Another major aim of the Parkway Station is to increase sustainable travel to Leeds and beyond with the provision of the park and ride facilities which encourage transfer to rail and reduce car vehicle kilometres driven. This will again contribute to reducing congestion and associated air quality issues.
The proposal will be informed by the Combined Authority’s Carbon Impact Audit as will all of the Combined Authority’s transport infrastructure and economic regeneration projects.
What stage of engagement/consultation are we at?
What is the employment hub?
The North West Leeds Employment Hub (SAP ref no. EG2-24) is a 32.63 ha employment site that was adopted within the Site Allocation Plan in July 2019 for the following uses: B1b Research & Development, B1c Light Industrial, B2 General Industrial and B8 Storage & Distribution.
The North West Leeds Employment Hub was allocated within the SAP in response to identified employment need to provide for both strategic city-wide employment and to meet employment needs in North West Leeds. The site is not allocated for Airport specific functions but may benefit from the connectivity of an airport nearby.
The North West Leeds Employment Hub is located adjacent to Leeds Bradford Airport and is owned by the five West Yorkshire districts (Leeds (40%), Bradford (40%), Wakefield (6.67%), Calderdale (6.67%) & Kirklees (6.67%).
The North West Leeds Employment Hub site is recognised as a ‘spatial priority area’ within the Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan. The site requires improved surface access in order to facilitate development, economic growth and regeneration.
What is the planning status of the employment hub?
Whilst the Employment Hub has been allocated in the adopted Site Allocations Plan, planning permission still needs to be obtained for the development of the site.
The Site Allocation Plan also requires that a Development Brief is prepared for the site to ensure its comprehensive delivery. This Development Brief would be subject to future public consultation and engagement.