Taskforce to consider Harrogate rail revamp

Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.
Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.
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The possible electrification of Harrogate’s railway line will be considered by a government taskforce in 2014.

The group, set up to examine how to accelerate rail electrification across the north, is made up of experts, MPs and councils, and is expected to report its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of 2014.

Electrification of the York - Harrogate - Leeds line will be considered alongside other projects including electrification between Leeds and Sheffield and Selby and Hull.

A business case for the Harrogate project was submitted to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin earlier this year.

MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough Andrew Jones said: “It seems every day the wheels turn that bit faster on the campaign to electrify our rail line. We’ve gone from being at a standstill to making good progress towards electrification which will mean newer trains, more services and faster connections.

“When we think of the benefits electrification can bring to our area in terms of business and leisure tourism, trade and easing congestion I believe we are in with a good chance of persuading the task force that our case is among the strongest.”

The business case was created by a team including transport provider Metro.

Chairman Coun James Lewis said: “Metro recently proposed a £94m project to electrify the route between Leeds, Harrogate and York in partnership with North Yorkshire, Harrogate and York Councils.

“This would mean an improved frequency of four trains per hour between Leeds, Horsforth and Harrogate, with two trains per hour extending to Knaresborough and York, using modern, electric trains.”

Chief Executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce Brian Dunsby leads the Harrogate Line Supporters Group.

He said: “We will keep all our supporters informed when this Taskforce is operational as we may need further evidence of potential demand to justify a high priority for electrification of the Harrogate.” Email the group: info@harrogateline.org