New Bradford station location announced March 23, 2021

Journey speed increase could be negated by walk to station

Bradford Interchange Station would be relocatedBradford City Council has announced its plan for a new Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) station even though no decisions have yet been made for the exact route detail or engineering cost of the proposed high speed line.

The location would be at the current location of St James's Wholesale Market around 7 minutes walk further away from City Hall than the current Bradford Interchange bus and train station. The present Interchange station is centrally placed in the city for most of its main attractions, including entertainment venues, the National Science and Media Museum and restaurants. The NPR plan would put the station up a hill outside the arterial roads around the city and the market would be relocated.

Bradford council is anticipating NPR will come up with an engineering solution that would take trains direct to Leeds in just 7 minutes rather than the 20 minutes trains take now from Bradford Interchange. The present trains are slowed a little by stopping at a park and ride facility at New Pudsey and some also at Bramley station. The city also has an alternative 26-minute route from Bradford Forster Square to Leeds via Shipley.

Leeds City SquareBradford City HallAllowing for the extra walk, a 7-minute NPR journey from the new station would cut transit time from City Hall in Bradford to City Square in Leeds from around 28 minutes to around 22 minutes, a saving of around 6 minutes over the fastest present trains that stop at New Pudsey.

The engineering required to achieve Leeds to Bradford in 7 minutes is, however, likely to be nothing to that needed to achieve Bradford to Manchester in 22 minutes. This would require a much straighter line than those designed by valley-hugging Victorian railway engineers. It would need to cross or tunnel beneath one of the thickest stretches of Pennine moorland while also seeking to avoid some of the most populated towns in the country on its high-speed way. A direct straight line of 30 miles between Bradford and Manchester would put it under the highest point on Britain's motorway network on the M62 while also skirting past Halifax and Oldham. High-speed designers may have more practical deviations from the straight line under consideration. However, any costings involved in the choice of a direct Bradford to Manchester high-speed route over other possibilities still do not appear to have been published.

A time of 22 minutes from Bradford to Manchester would see the ex-Lancashire city in easier reach than many places within West Yorkshire. The journey would be about the same time as Bradford to Keighley or Bradford to Hebden Bridge, quicker than it takes from Bradford to Ilkley, to Brighouse, to Cleckheaton (only by bus) or to Huddersfield and under half the time it typically takes from Bradford to Wakefield.

Bradford Council also sees the St James's Wholesale Market site as a suitable place for relocating the present Bradford Interchange bus and train station, seeing benefits in the city becoming a halt station on a through line outside the centre rather than the present city centre terminus where trains have to reverse to continue their journey.

Northern Powerhouse Rail is unlikely to bring any significant positive impact on rail transit within West Yorkshire and could ultimately see reduced frequencies for local travel within the county, but it would see greater speed across county lines to Manchester from an area of Bradford currently occupied by market warehouses.


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