HARROGATE LINE - bid for electrification

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Harrogate Line Support

The following encouraging messages of support have been received from local councillors and leading business people:


Richard Flinton, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council,
"Harrogate is a major town within North Yorkshire that relies on its connectivity to other parts of the region for tourism and wider commerce.  This initiative is important in order to help Harrogate prosper, as well as providing residents with an alternative to travelling by car.”


Councillor Don Mackenzie, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council

"The timing of this initiative could not be more favourable, and I have given it my full support. Brian has also given a presentation of the proposal to the Conservative Group and my colleagues share my enthusiasm for the scheme. Without question, the residents and businesses of the district need improved transport connections. Our conference, exhibition and tourism industry would receive a great boost from this fundamental improvement to our rail infrastructure. There will be those who doubt that this scheme will receive the necessary funding at a time of financial constraints - but that is exactly when pilot projects, which offer great value for money and an economic boost, are most appreciated. We are going to back this bid to the full." 

Following Meeting on 8th August 2011: "I believe the meeting achieved its primary purpose, which was to bring together the various contributors to the debate about the upgrade proposals, and to discuss their hopes and concerns. The overriding message from the gathering is that this bid deserves our full backing, and that is exactly what it will get."

Councillor Reg Marsh, Harrogate Borough Council’s Opposition Lib Dem Group Spokesman on Transport
  “The Liberal Democrats on Harrogate District Council fully endorse this new rail initiative, which could definitely be the answer to rail travel within Harrogate District for the foreseeable future. The package envisaged is relatively cheap to install and very quick to get up and running. The ease with which the trains can stop and start, whilst being faster than the existing set up, brings the possibility of extra rail halts, extra passengers and less congestion on our roads. Who knows, it could even mean the introduction of new track revitalising different areas of the District. Hopefully the Secretary of State will back Brian and his team by granting a trial status to the scheme to enable everything to happen.”


Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough
is now promoting the scheme to the Government Ministers concerned, having already arranged a meeting of the other MPs whose constituencies cover the Stations along the Harrogate Line. “I am pleased to have played a part in bringing this proposal in front of MPs and Ministers.  It is an exciting plan and part of the ongoing work to improve rail services to our area – a key part of my priorities since I became a Member of Parliament.  Better local services will support investment in our area, bring people to Harrogate for visits, for conferences and for shopping and help to underpin the local economy.  I would like to record my thanks to the Chamber of Trade and Commerce and in particular Brian Dunsby and Mark Leving for the work they have done in bringing this project to a point where we have a viable scheme to present to Ministers.  We would not be at this point without them.”


Gary Verity,
Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire
Upgrading of the Harrogate Line Train Services with modern ground level electrification will give a massively improved level of service for all train users including leisure and business related tourists.  We are particularly keen that our visitors are able to move around the county using a rail service that reflects this modernity.” 

“The tourism industry is hugely important to Yorkshire generating £7bn to the economy each year - we must continue to demonstrate that the county is a must see destination which also includes excellent transport links to and from its key towns and cities. In addition, we have a duty to promote sustainable transport to our visitors to reduce road congestion and to show that travelling by train or bus to different destinations can be a very attractive element of the trip.  Harrogate is one of the jewels in the Yorkshire crown that attracts many visitors all the year round.  So for these reasons, I am delighted to offer my full support for your bid.”


Angus Houston
, Director of the Harrogate International Centre
"Harrogate International Centre has pioneered the development of the Conference and Exhibition Business since the 1950's,and is a fundamental part of the District's Business and Tourism economy. The success of an International Venue such as HIC is fundamentally linked to logistics and transport for clients and delegates, so this scheme clearly fits the needs for both Harrogate and Yorkshire."

Local business leaders welcome the prospect of higher quality more frequent connecting service to Leeds and York. 


David Ritson, General Manager, Old Swan Hotel and Chair of Destination Harrogate

"The success of this project is critical to ensure train access to and from Harrogate is as quick and efficient as possible for the many thousands of leisure and business tourism visitors to the district who are so important in supporting the local economy. The popularity of travelling by train is increasing due to the rise in fuel costs, better availability and cheaper cost of off-peak train tickets. This development would help Harrogate remain competitive as a destination alongside other towns and cities."


Mark Lancaster
, Managing Director, Colour It In Ltd and past President of Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
“I strongly support the project to enhance the local rail service which I believe is vital to our economy. Our local transport infrastructure has long suffered from neglect which is a shame as it offers the only credible solution to connect Harrogate with the pockets of potential employees in the 16 to 35 age group. This is important as it is the sector that is missing from our District and which has been proven to be a factor in restricting the growth of businesses in the area especially in the hospitality sector.  With the prospect of low cost housing and road infrastructure improvements for Harrogate being many years away, a clean, reliable, cost effective rail service is the only viable solution for the foreseeable future.”


Alison Griffin, Head of Sales and Marketing at Harrogate International Centre
"Harrogate has it all - a world class international venue, a vibrant destination, with some good transport links and these ambitious and forward thinking transport plans can only push Harrogate further forward on the national stage.  We fully support the work being done by the Chamber of Trade and Borough Council on this matter."


Alison Hartwell, Owner, Harrogate Holidays

"After two very busy weeks with lots of visitors to Harrogate, attending the Great Yorkshire Show and the Home and Gift Fair, I have been asking guests booking self catering properties through Harrogate Holidays if they have been using the new Harrogate-London KC service. Not- surprisingly many have loved this direct service but feel it just should be just the first step in improving rail links in Harrogate and are disappointed that there isn’t a link from Leeds Bradford Airport.

The possibility of a ‘Metroline’ linking the airport with Harrogate, which would also provide a quicker service to York and Leeds, would not only be popular with our visitors but with residents of Harrogate too.  A pioneering plan to electrify a busy Yorkshire rail route and use former London Underground trains, has been unveiled by Harrogate Chamber of Commerce, using trains which will soon become redundant on the District Line in London.

Many Harrogate businesses are looking at the ‘Visitor Experience’ in Harrogate at the moment, let’s start with making the guests commute to Harrogate more streamlined please, and support our local Chamber’s proposals."


Marian Farrar, Business & Community Partnerships, St Aidan's CofE High School

"... Harrogate Trains project is very exciting and a bold leap forward. From a St Aidan's perspective it may also be a real bonus for our students. As you may know, the associated 6th Form is the largest school based 6th form in the country with 1100 on roll for September 2100.

Many of our senior students join us for the 6th form from other schools in Leeds and York -  such as Leeds Grammar, Horsforth etc - and so the extra stops at Spen Lane and Pool as well as further stops in Knaresborough and through to York will be very beneficial.

It would also be wonderful if a competitively priced student pass to cover all the zones could be available - with the increased frequency of trains, this would prove very attractive to students whose curriculum is much less rigid than in lower school, with free periods during the day, late starts, early finishes, later evenings for drama and sporting activities etc and with friendship groups across the whole region.  It may also encourage them to leave their cars at home!"

 

Simon Cotton, President, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce (General Manager, Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate)

"I thought last night's presentation [8th August meeting] was ‘first class’ (no pun intended!).  It was highly professional, well timed and showed a team who had obviously done their homework thoroughly.  Whilst there appeared to be a number of objectors in the room at the beginning of the night ..... I was delighted to see by the end of the night that there was a unanimous vote to take forward these plans to see if it is in fact feasible.  This is solely down to the work you have put in to date and one thing that was not in question last night was how grateful everyone was of your completely voluntary efforts to date and I thank you wholeheartedly for doing this in the name of Harrogate Chamber, your time, commitment and sheer professionalism is very much appreciated."


James Bovington, Horsforth, Leeds
"The ingenious plan recently proposed by Harrogate Chamber of Commerce to electrify the Leeds to York line via Horsforth and Harrogate should go a long way to easing overcrowding on the local rail network which a recent report described as being as severe as anywhere in England outside of London.

For those who are unfamiliar with the scheme it would cost about £100 million and use a modern form of  ground level live rail electrification similar to the system on the very modern Docklands Railway in London with the electrically powered trains being ex-Underground stock which will become available in 2014. (London of course is getting brand new trains but the best that we can ever hope for in the provinces is the capital's cast-offs). With their faster acceleration new stations could be introduced without substantial lengthening of journey times and residents of Horsforth would benefit from vastly increased capacity and much higher daytime and evening frequency. New stations with large car parks north of Horsforth would mean more car parking available for Horsforth residents at our own station. Furthermore the rolling stock being suggested is very good at dealing with steep gradients. Modern underside electric contact systems are sheathed on the top and sides to protect against unintentional contact and are therefore also much safer and do not suffer from icing problems in the winter.

I understand that the scheme is supported by management at  Leeds Bradford airport, which would gain a station north of Horsforth just two kilometres from the airport, with feeder buses providing the link to the terminal - the comparable Liverpool airport station is some five kilometres from John Lennon airport.

The scheme isn't perfect - it does introduce a second type of electrification to the local network. However, it is both innovative and ambitious and would bring great benefits in the relatively near future to communities the full length of the line. I for one am tired of waiting for transport 'jam' tomorrow. Given that the project enjoys the support of all MPs along the line let's hope that the scheme gets the go-ahead and is financially sufficiently viable to meet the requirements of the UK Treasury, whose sole purpose often seems to stifle innovation and ambition especially in transport, thus depriving cities like Leeds of the quality transport networks out twin cities of Lille and Dortmund rightly take for granted."


David Trayhorn, Huntington, York - MIRO (Member of the Institution of Railway Operators) and AMInstT (Associate Member of the Insitute of Transport)

"You have a pioneering spirit - and rightfully deserve success with this venture.

The Railway Industry needs people with the vision to see through so many obstacles and so much red tape.

For almost every challenge there is a solution, it just requires the will to succeed and support from people with a 'can do' motivation.

You have so kindly answered all of the questions that I had posed, either directly or in the presentation (eg a toilet and  first class in D78 stock!). You have proved to me that this is achievable, and the right way to improve the travel experience on this line for the medium and the long term."

Derek Spencer, Haxby, York

"Many thanks for allowing me to attend your meeting last night [8th August] and listen to an excellent and well researched presentation by Mark [Leving] (please pass on my appreciation for what he (and you) have achieved in a relatively short timescale.)

I think that the most positive aspect of the meeting ... was the impression that I got from delegates that in general third rail was the way to go, and that 25kv, tram-train, and diesel were all dismissed (for different reasons) as being unsuitable for the Harrogate application."

 

For details see: www.harrogateline.org  

Comments welcome: enquiries@harrogateline.org

 

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