Plans for a major mass transit network linking the area’s major towns and cities have been in the early planning stages for years.
Work on the network, which will include a Bradford to Leeds line, is in such an early stage that it is not even clear yet what type of transport system will be used.
This week, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, a body made up of the area’s five local Councils, announced that Kevin Murray has been made Interim Director of Mass Transit.
He is joining on secondment from Leeds based infrastructure experts Turner & Townsend whilst the Combined Authority looks to recruit to the permanent position.
Although exact locations of stops on the various routes have yet to be decided, the scheme would likely see a mass transit interchange in Bradford city centre as well as stops in areas without rail stations, including Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Junction 26 of the M62, “South Bradford” and Laisterdyke.
There would be additional stops in areas with existing rail stations such as Low Moor, Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square and Pudsey.
The full network could eventually include a line linking Bradford to Baildon, Guiseley and Leeds Bradford Airport, one linking the city to Halifax, Elland and Brighouse and one linking Bradford to Dewsbury – as well as the direct Bradford to Leeds link.
Some of the funding for the ambitious scheme will come from the £830m ‘City Regional Sustainable Transport Settlement’ awarded to West Yorkshire by Government as a result of it becoming a devolved authority. At least £100m of this fund has been set aside for developing the mass transit programme.
A statement from the Combined Authority said Mr Murray “has significant experience in the construction industry working on major projects such as the Edinburgh Tram Project, the Edinburgh Airport Rail project and on rail projects such as the Jubilee Line Extension and Thameslink Programme.
“Over the coming months, Kevin will lead the initial stages of the Mass Transit programme, including the ‘mobilisation’ of the team needed to do the work, and the next phase of the business case work required by the Government.
“This appointment marks another positive step forwards for the mass transit programme, which is part of the Combined Authority’s ambition to overhaul the transport network in the region. Alongside cycling, walking, bus and rail, mass transit will be essential to bring people and places closer together.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “This is an exciting time for the region as we look at ways to transform the transport network. A new mass transit system in West Yorkshire is going to be a key element linking communities with quick, reliable service, integrated with cycling, walking, bus and rail.
“I am confident that Kevin’s appointment will help us deliver a mass transit system that will benefit many generations to come.”
Ben Still, Managing Director of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “This is significant step towards the Combined Authority’s ambitions to bring a mass transit system to West Yorkshire, and I am delighted that Kevin will be joining us at this important time.
“Kevin brings a wealth of experience, including working on mass transit in Scotland and I am sure he will provide hugely valuable leadership during this period to get the project going now that it has the financial backing from the Government.”