The Anonymous Widower

Alternative Rail Connections For Bradford After IRP Snub

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

This is the first paragraph.

Of all the losers from the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), Bradford is arguably the biggest.

I agree! But then Bradford is a very difficult problem.

The article talks about several solutions.

These are probably the best of a rather mixed and downright impractical bunch.

The big problem with Bradford Interchange station is that it is a terminal and not a through station. Through trains between say Leeds and Halifax or Huddersfield have to reverse in the station, which slows the services down by up to five minutes.

Currently the following local services call at Bradford Interchange station.

  • Blackpool North and York
  • Chester and Leeds
  • Halifax and Hull
  • Huddersfield and Leeds
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds


  1. All services have a frequency of one tph.
  2. All trains are diesel-powered.
  3. All services reverse in Bradford Interchange station.
  4. Platforms 1 and 2 can accommodate five-car Class 180 trains, which are 120 metres long.

This Google Map shows Bradford Interchange station.


  1. Platforms 1 and 2 are the longer pair of platforms to the West.
  2. Platform 3 and 4 can probably handle a four-car train.
  3. I suspect that if necessary platforms could be lengthened so they could all take a five-car Class 802 train, which is 130 metres long.

In Would Automated Trains With The Ability To Run Backwards Improve Passenger Train Services?, I proposed providing sufficient automation and signalling improvements, so that drivers could drive the train from either cab.

This would make the reverse at Bradford Interchange station take as long as a normal stop, without any reduction in safety.

If this could be made to work efficiently, it must open up the possibility of a Leeds and Manchester Airport service.

  • It would call at Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse and Huddersfield.
  • It would satisfy Bradford’s need of a direct service to Manchester Airport.
  • It would improve getting to the airport for Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.

There would be no need for large amounts of new or modified infrastructure.


December 21, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. another option not mentioned in the article is to reopen the Wortley curve A bid was submitted to Reopen Your Railway but wasn’t successful. As they’re planning to electrify the Pudsey line, this would create added value, particularly if you could connect at the S end to both the Hudd and Wake lines. Then Bradford would have its own link to both Manchester and Doncaster and further S. The problem with the current network is basically that Bradford is treated as though it’s a suburb of Leeds.

    Comment by Peter Robins | December 21, 2021 | Reply

  2. not sure I’ve seen the Trans Britain Railway proposal before. Having a new line N from Spen Valley/Bradley to Low Moor would be a good way to connect with Bradford, but I think it would be better to upgrade that line and terminate some trains at Bradford, rather than having a distant parkway station. And then while you’re at it, build a tunnel between Interchange and Forster Sq, upgrade Settle-Carlisle, and continue on that way to Scotland.

    However, it’s pretty clear that, having spent billions building new HS2 tunnels in the S of England, there isn’t any funding left for the N.

    Comment by Peter Robins | December 21, 2021 | Reply

  3. Now Truss says Bradford can have a new station as part of the IRP and Liverpool – Leeds HS line
    I’ll bet the planners at the Treasury and Network Rail are tearing their hair out.

    Comment by fammorris | October 3, 2022 | Reply

    • I assume that since Liz is leaving us we can assume that the promise of a new Bradford Station is, like so many of her policies, Gone.

      Comment by fammorris | October 21, 2022 | Reply

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