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Sunday, July 14, 2024

£24 million government boost to transform Bradford Forster Square station with new rail platform

Bradford Forster Square station will get an extra platform and up to five extra London services a day thanks to a £24m Government investment.

The Department for Transport has today announced the funding for the city centre station, which will likely triple the number of trains between the city and the capital in time for Bradford’s City of Culture year.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman will visit the station this afternoon during a visit to the city where he will also discuss plans for a new station on the St James Market site.

Mr Merriman revealed the latest investment in the city, and said the platform will “reduce delays and futureproof the station for generations to come.”

The new platform will ease congestion and improve access to the city for passengers, commuters and tourists.

Once complete – and subject to future funding decisions – this could result in an extra five LNER services a day, more than tripling the current provision.

Mr Merriman said: “Bradford is benefitting from serious investment in rail infrastructure, with £24m towards a new platform for Forster Square Station helping to improve rail journeys, increase rail services and better connect passengers.

“This investment follows £2bn for Bradford to better connect the city including with a new station and to facilitate faster rail journeys to Manchester via Huddersfield as part of our Network North plan, with further funding recently announced to help with the planning work for that station – demonstrating this Government’s plan to invest in rail infrastructure in the region.”

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe has been lobbying the Government and Network Rail for more Bradford to London services in time for Bradford’s 2025 City of Culture celebrations.

The Government’s £36 billion Network North plan to improve local transport connections included £2 billion to provide a new station at Bradford and a new connection to improve journey times from the city to Manchester via Huddersfield.

Today’s meeting between the minister and Council bosses follows £400,000 committed to the Bradford in November to accelerate the council’s masterplans for the new station, which will see it become ‘the King’s Cross of the North’.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to secure this new investment from the Government. It’s good to see they now recognise the value of Bradford being better connected to the entire Northern economy.

The new platform at Forster Square Station will provide much-needed additional capacity and connectivity for Bradford in time for the district’s year as City of Culture in 2025 and for generations to come enabling greater mobility and access to opportunity across the district.”

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North & East route, said: “This funding will enable us to deliver extra platform capacity at Bradford Forster Square and allow for improved rail connections for passengers in the future. We look forward to working with the Department for Transport, Bradford Council, and other stakeholders to deliver these upgrades for people travelling to and from the city.”

The announcement comes on top of £500 million previously committed to upgrade and electrify the railway between Bradford and Leeds and a further £2.5bn Network North pledge to support the West Yorkshire Mass Transit System which will improve connections between Leeds and Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax.

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “We welcome this investment and the benefits it will bring to our customers across West Yorkshire. Bradford Forster Square already sees around two million passengers every year and with these developments, we look forward to many more in the coming years.”

Warrick Dent, LNER’s Safety & Operations Director, said: “LNER welcomes the news of investment in a new platform at Bradford Forster Square which will allow us to run more trains to and from the city. Our timetable plans will be announced nearer the time, and need approval by the Department for Transport, but we would expect to see a big increase in the number of LNER services.

“It’s particularly exciting that the changes should happen during Bradford City of Culture 2025.”

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