Could trains once again be stopping at Armley Canal Road, Kirkstall or Stanningley station?
Re-opening closed railway stations in West Leeds would help tackle traffic congestion and get people out of their cars, a senior councillor told members of the Inner West Community Committee.
Councillors watched a presentation on the council’s draft Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy, which is currently out to public consultation. The strategy aims to take the city to a point where cars are no longer a necessity to travel.
And Councillor Jim McKenna (Lab, Armley) said rail provided a realistic alternative to the car – at a fraction of the cost of expensive mass transit systems like the failed Supertram project. He said:
“Armley has possibly three old station which could be re-opened. Kirkstall ward already has two, and Bramley one. I would like to see this becoming part of the plan. Buses are the people movers but rail is a close second.”
Cllr McKenna said there could be a station for Armley, and suggested Canal Road is a former station which could be easily re-opened. He also said there could be a station near Kirkstall Viaduct.
His calls were backed by Kirkstall councillor John Illingworth, who said the idea of re-opening old stations were ‘music to his ears’. He said:
“I have felt for a number of years that we need to stop and think about improving the rail service. We should be pushing this idea as far as it could go.”
He said a new station for Kirkstall should have been built in Wyther Lane and said there could be another at the Hawksworth Wood estate.
Cllr Caroline Gruen (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) said she supported the move away from being reliant on cars but said more work needed to be done to address radial routes in the city, saying for her to get to work it would take four times as long by public transport as it would by car.
Transport Strategy manager Paul Foster, who is helping to lead the strategy, welcomed the comments on rail and said he would add them to the feedback, but warned capacity on lines would be an issue. He said park and ride was a priority.
Mr Foster also stressed the importance of introducing one integrated ticket, backed by demand-responsive minibuses which you can book on an app. He said that funding to pilot that had been secured in east Leeds by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and could be rolled out across the city.
The strategy will upgrade key bus corridors to provide fast and reliable high frequency services, develop its park and ride offer on key routes across the city, and promote “demand responsive” transport services to offer flexibility and connectivity in areas not well served by traditional bus services.
The Inner West Community Committee is made up of councillors from the Armley, Bramley & Stanningley and Kirkstall Wards and nine community co-optees. View the agenda in full here.
Visit leedstransportstrategy.commonplace.is/ to learn more about the proposals, read the draft strategy in full or make comments. The consultation runs until 26 March.
The Outer West Community Committee – which covers Pudsey. Calverley & Farsley and Farnley & Wortley wards – said last month that bus services need to improve dramatically if Leeds Council is serious about luring people away from cars.
Last January Farnley & Wortley Green party councillor David Blackburn reiterated calls to reopen some of district’s lost railway stations to help combat climate change and get more people using public transport.