HARROGATE LINE - bid for electrification

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10th March 2013

Business Case for electrification is underway

In response to a long reader's letter in the 7th March issue of the Harrogate Advertiser, Brian Dunsby assured readers that there is now a very active Harrogate Line Supporters Group and they are seeing significant progress in terms of justifying the electrification of the Harrogate Line on several fronts.

The Department for Transport has requested preparation of a detailed technical study and a business case comparing costs with benefits for submission in the Spring of 2013. Although there is no assurance of funding at this stage, our aim is to have this project ready in the pipeline when the Treasury decides to release additional funding for investment in further rail electrification.

North Yorkshire County Council, West Yorkshire PTE (Metro), City of York Council and Harrogate Borough Council have agreed to fund a consultancy study of the potential costs and benefits of upgrading the Harrogate Line between Leeds and York via Harrogate and Knaresborough. The two main transport Authorities, NYCC and Metro, drew up a detailed brief and then appointed WSP Consultants to carry out the work on the business case for the Harrogate Line electrification. Harrogate Chamber is one of the main stakeholders to be involved in the study and we had our first meeting with WSP on Monday 25th February and the second meeting will be on 22nd March.

An important part of the study is to compile a sound basis for forecasting the potential demand for more frequent faster modern trains on the line and hopefully some additional stations - and much more car parking at existing stations. We need specific evidence where the current services are inadequate in terms of capacity, frequency and quality or in the availability of adequate parking capacity or suitable connections to public transport.

Naturally we would welcome any recent data on the numbers of visitors to venues, events and attractions and also on any property developments or other activities near to the Harrogate Line that are likely to affect future demand for these rail services. Such evidence will be vital to substantiate forecasts of passenger growth if and when the quality and quantity of rail services is improved.

A news bulletin amplifying the above points was sent to all 120 members of the Harrogate Line Supporters Group on 25th February and an open meeting is being planned for week commencing 25th March to review progress on the study.

If you wish to join the group and attend without any charge, please send an e-mail to info@harrogateline.org