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How the overgrown Wortley Curve could be key to improving regional rail travel

By Local Democracy Reporter Chris Young

Reinstating a half-mile stretch of track named the Wortley Curve could massively boost rail travel into and out of Bradford.

The Wortley Curve is an overgrown section of railway that connected the Wakefield to Leeds line to the Bradford to Leeds line.

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It was closed in 1985, much to the annoyance of Bradford politicians, and nature has since taken over much of the route.

But a new funding bid could see the site, next to Wortley Recreation Ground, re-opened, meaning Bradford rail services would be much less reliant on Leeds.

A re-opened Wortley Curve would allow trains to travel from Bradford to Wakefield and beyond without having to pass through Leeds Station.

And it could also link Bradford up to planned High Speed 2 rail services that will link London and Leeds.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee next Friday members will discuss a number of transport and infrastructure projects across the region.

A report to the committee, which is meeting remotely, discusses the Restoring Your Railway Fund announced by the government in February as a way of supporting different projects to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.

One part of this is the Ideas Fund – which could include closed stations, the upgrade of current freight lines to include passenger services and restoring disused rail alignment.

Applications can be made for each proposal and each scheme needs the backing of an MP. Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has supported the Wortley Curve proposal.

And a report to the Transport Committee says the Combined Authority has also supported that the Wortley Curve be submitted as a potential scheme, although it will face competition from a number of other projects.

Touting the benefits of the Wortley Curve re-instatement, the report says says there are transport markets between Bradford and Wakefield, Sheffield and the East Midlands that the railway system is “not currently serving well.”

Other bids as part of the same scheme include reinstating regular passenger services on the Askern line between Doncaster and West Yorkshire, and re-opening Askern station, sponsored by Ed Miliband, and the re-opening of the North Midland line between Barnsley to Wakefield via Royston, sponsored by Dan Jarvis MP.

The report to the committee says:

“The proposal of Wortley Curve has emerged from the Combined Authority’s Rail Connectivity Vision work.

“The work identifies that there are sizeable travel markets between Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees to places such as Wakefield, Sheffield and the East Midlands, that the railway is not currently serving well.

“It identifies opportunities for infrastructure enhancement which could improve the integration of Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 with the existing rail network.

“These include the reinstatement of Wortley Curve and an enhanced Clayton junction as part of the HS2 development.

“If the Wortley Curve could be reinstated as part of a wider package, it could potentially enable faster, direct journeys between Bradford/Calderdale/Kirklees and Wakefield/Sheffield/the East Midlands without having to reverse at Leeds station.”


  1. this should have been done years ago. it could hold the key to many problems on the roads in and around west also north west leeds. my view is that trains from horsforth to wakefield direct could mean that people useing leeds and bradford airport could use the train instead of their cars. this is possible via the wortley curve beacause the harrogate train goes out through that junction at holbeck why not think about this idear it sounds great.

  2. re-opening the wortley curve is probably a good idea for rail transport in and around wortley, taking off the road private motor vehicles travelling to Bradford or Wakefield, and re-connecting Braford to Wakefield this could also relive the current lines into Leeds station which are currently stretched, as far as the Harrogate line connecting to the wortley junction heading to Wakefield this would block all lines through the armley road /geldard road junction at the armley gyratory and the wortley curve as some trains would have to reverse back up the Bradford line on the wrong side inorder to travel the correct way on the correct side to Wakefield, If this plan were to go ahead for the wortley curve as prior to it’s closure in 1985 it would have to remain as a one-way link between Bradford and Wakefield connecting Halifax/North West and Sheffield /South


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