A multi-million pound tram-train service has been put forward as the preferred option for a new transport link connecting Leeds city centre to Leeds/Bradford Airport.
The plan for the new line, which could cost up to £360m, was suggested in a feasibility report to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, prepared by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.
The report said that a mixed link featuring both tram and train lines would provide “the most attractive solution” to improve connectivity to the airport, with a heavy rail link “unachievable” due to the topography of the area surrounding the airport.
The link would see the construction of a line to the south-east of the airport, as well as related infrastructure such as a new parkway station north of Hosforth.
If approved, the Leed/Bradford airport tram-train link would be the second of its kind in the UK after a £58m pilot project was launched in Sheffield.
The Sheffieldf project, which is being led by Network Rail and built by Carillion, was initially supposed to be completed in 2016 but has been delayed by a year after planners decided to change the location of the link.
The Leeds-Bradford proposals come just a week after the transport committee called on the government to come up with a “coherent plan” for improving links to regional airports across the UK.
Following the committee’s report, West Yorkshire Combined Authority launched an inquiry into developing a Metro-style public transport system in Leeds.
A report is expected to be published later this spring, outlining Leeds’ transport needs, including suggestions for future transport infrastructure investment.
The authority’s transport committee chairman Keith Wakefield said: “Developing a metro-style system with integrated rail, light rail, bus, cycling and walking networks designed to meet local people’s needs, will underpin the economic growth and resulting job creation we are already seeing in the City Region.
“It will also ensure that the benefits of High Speed Rail are maximised across the City Region and act as a catalyst for attracting further investment.”