By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter
A disused stretch of West Leeds rail line that has been touted as a way to improve services into and out of Bradford will go to auction in the New Year.
The Wortley Curve is a section of railway that connected the Wakefield to Leeds line to the Bradford to Leeds line.
It was closed in 1985, much to the annoyance of Bradford politicians, and is now overgrown.
There have been calls in recent years for the line to be re-instated, as it would allow trains to travel from Bradford to Wakefield and beyond without having to pass through Leeds Station.
But the site, next to Wortley Recreation Ground, will go under the hammer at an online auction on January 30 with a guide price of just £15,000.
The land currently belongs to Railway Paths Ltd, a charity that owns and manages former railway land.
The online auction listing, by Pugh auctioneers, says the three-acre stretch of land is “suitable for a variety of different uses.”
The most recent push to reinstate the Wortley Curve emerged in 2020, when the Government made available funds to improve local rail services.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves had pushed for funding to re-open the Wortley Curve. A meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority in May that year heard that transport markets between Bradford and Wakefield were “not served well.”
Members were told the curve could also provide a link between the London to Leeds leg of HS2 – which has since been scrapped.
A report said: “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.”
The auction listing describes the Wortley Curve as: “An irregular shaped parcel of land extending to approximately 3.1 acres (1.3 Hectares) and comprising land mainly used as a former railway line.
“The site currently has heavy tree coverage and still retains some of the old rail track but could be suitable for a variety of future uses, subject to any necessary consents.
“We understand that Japanese knotweed is present on site as well as some of the old rail track.”
When WLD asked the Combined Authority about the sale of the site, and if the Authority would consider bidding on it, a spokesperson said: “We have a number of projects in development, and we continue to monitor various parcels of land which might help deliver on our ambitions to create a better-connected region.”