Area: North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire
Interests: Bus, Rail, Traffic
Contact: Mark Parry on 07941 642349 or Tony Plumbe on 01274 566607
Send them a message
News for July 2019
We welcome people sharing our concerns and interests.
To contact us: send us an online message or call Mark Parry on 07941 642349 or Tony Plumbe on 01274 566607
You can also turn up at one of our free meetings advertised below.
Rail Group Meetings:
'Veritas', 43-47 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB.
Starting at 19:30 on Mondays in 2019:
- 15 Jul
- 2 Sep
- 7 Oct
- 18 Nov
We are still looking for a better venue, so please check before you attend by texting Mark on 07941 642349.
Bus Group Meetings:
'Caffe Nero's', 29a Bond Street Leeds LS1 5HD.
Next to Tesco.
Starting at 17:30 on Tuesday, 3 September and 12 November 2019.
If you want to join us and don’t know what we look like, text Mark on 07941 642349.
The Yorkshire Branch of Railfuture's next meeting is in Pontefract on Saturday 6 July 2019 from 1pm. Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the WYCA Transport Committee will speak.
For further details text Mark on 07941 642349
Catch the Bus Week
1 – 7 July 2019
This is an annual week which we hope will help encourage people to use public transport more. ARRIVA is one example of a company offering discounted tickets.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Rail Strategy
James Nutter, Head of Rail, and Rebecca Cheung addressed us on 21 May 2019. They said the focus of the Combined Authority is on public transport rather than on major road expansion, along with investment in walking and cycling. They aim to increase bus patronage by 25% and rail by 75% by 2025. They work together with the local authorities in West Yorkshire as they too have plans for investment. Many more consultations are on the way and they welcome our input into these.
There are structural problems with how the Rail Network is operated. Actual decision making power doesn’t sit within Northern England, the final decisions are made in London. This meant the May 2018 timetable fiasco could not be easily resolved by one body leading. The local network needs complete devolution, with clear lines of responsibility.
They look forward to the Williams review and the improvements to the structure it may bring, such as our local politicians helping shape the industry. The franchise system does not incentivise operators to achieve wider objectives. So, because of the limited franchise periods, the Rail Industry is structured to catch up rather than providing any additional capacity in the next franchise period.
Leeds station is a pinch point, along with Manchester, in the North. With 31 million passengers annually, it is the busiest in the North of England. Unfortunately, Network Rail does not fully know what is needed as there is a lack of any national vision for rail; but Leeds station does need to be HS2 ready and is currently used up to capacity. Extra capacity is needed through HS2, which is strongly supported by local leaders and the Northern Powerhouse.
Bradford could have much quicker journeys into Leeds and Manchester and needs a city centre station for such new services, rather than an out of town parkway station. The trans-Pennine upgrade is desperately needed to cope with all services, including stopping services and freight. They do not consider partial electrification sufficient for the needs of the operators.
Rebecca provided the details of the new stations at White Rose, Thorpe Park, Leeds Bradford Airport and Elland. Elland is the only one with full funding and could be built by 2022 with a car park for 170 cars. Thorpe Park is seen as a parkway station for Wetherby with 500 car spaces. White Rose will have footpaths to the Shopping Centre and Cottingley, and is part of a regeneration project for the area. The Airport Station is seen as a parkway station with spaces for 350 cars, rather than a station for the Airport. The Airport’s shuttle bus will connect with trains.
Electric Bus Trip
Seven of us, including a member of the York Bus Forum visited the Transdev Bus Depot at Starbeck on 18 June. The purpose was to experience the new electric buses they are operating around Harrogate. The eight all-electric buses cost nearly £4.5 million and Transdev received a grant towards that cost. They can have a slow charge in the Depot but also get a fast charge at Harrogate Bus Station via a pantograph. The fast charge is not essential but enhances their reliability. Our bus took us from Starbeck into Harrogate bus station where we saw buses being fast charged as in the picture. This fast charge process is completely automatic only operating if the bus needs charging.
The seating is well spaced accommodating over 30, but a more conventional layout would easily seat 40. They run quietly, without the roar a diesel makes, when setting off. Contrary to urban myths, no accidents have been reported as being due to quiet running.
Conferences over the last month
Several members attended the Leeds Civic Trust event on rail developments in Leeds, opened by Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council. Some of us listened to the Rail Delivery Group outline their proposals for a more customer focussed, joined up and accountable railway, ahead of the Williams Report. Our branch Chair, attended “Towards A Zero Carbon Leeds City Region Transport Sector Workshop” organised by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.