Airedale Line

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     Airedale Line
Overview
Type Commuter rail
Status Open
Locale West Yorkshire
Yorkshire and the Humber
Termini Leeds
Bradford Forster Square
Skipton (some services continue to Carlisle or Lancaster)
Stations 11
Operation
Opening 1846
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Northern Rail
Rolling stock British Rail Class 333 (majority of services)
Technical
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification Overhead catenary
Airedale Line
Leeds
Kirkstall Forge(opens 2014)
Apperley Bridge(reopens 2014)
     Bradford Forster Square
     Frizinghall
Wharfedale Line
Wharfedale Line via Baildon
Shipley
Saltaire
Bingley
Crossflatts
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
Keighley
Steeton & Silsden
Cononley
Skipton to Ilkley Line
Skipton
Leeds-Morecambe Line
Settle Junction
Carlislevia Settle-Carlisle Line
Morecambevia Leeds-Morecambe Line


The Airedale Line is the name given to one of the rail services in the Metro area centred on West Yorkshire in northern England. The service is operated by Northern Rail, on the route connecting Leeds and Bradford with Skipton. Some services along the line continue to Morecambe or Carlisle. The route covered by the service was historically part of the Midland Railway.

The route and its history[edit]

The first section, between Leeds and Bradford (Forster Square station), was opened by the Leeds and Bradford Railway on 1 July 1846. During the Beeching Axe in the 1960s, a number of stations were closed, however the line and its major stations remained open. Some of the closed stations, such as Saltaire, were re-opened during the 1980s.

In 1991, the line was electrified at 25kV AC Overhead between Leeds and Skipton,[1] and new British Rail Class 333 trains were introduced in the early 2000s. Investment in the line has seen passenger numbers grow,[1] and now overcrowding on trains is a problem.[2]

The route is described below. The line originally included a number of stations which are now closed:

Trains of the Leeds to Morecambe Line and Settle-Carlisle Line also run along the Airedale Line from Leeds.

The line today[edit]

The line is operated by the Northern Rail operating company. The fare structure is as follows (these show the Metro rail zones):

The future[edit]

Recent Network Rail reports have looked at ways of increasing capacity on the line. Because of the difficulty of lengthening platforms at Shipley, it will be hard to introduce longer trains (i.e. 5 or 6 carriages) as is being proposed on the neighbouring Wharfedale Line. It is therefore proposed to run more trains per hour between Leeds and Keighley, with a new platform at Keighley to accommodate this.[4] New stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge between Leeds and Skipton via Shipley are due to open in 2012.

East Coast currently operate a small number of daily services on the line, between Skipton/Bradford and Leeds before heading to London King's Cross. These are mostly diesel services, because the overhead electric cables on the line between Shipley and Skipton cannot support both local trains and high-speed electric services (due to the extra power needed by the locomotives). National Express East Coast, East Coast's predecessor, wanted to run more frequent services from December 2009 but to do so would require the use of electric locomotives, which cannot happen unless the electric supply is upgraded.[5]

A recent report by Modern Railways claimed that a solid hourly service would operate on the line as far as Long Preston, but would serve Carlisle and Lancaster alternately. It may also become a freight artery to improve capacity on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail's own latest plans involve new signalling and other improvements for the sections of the line beyond Skipton. Carlisle services will be increased to a basic two hour pattern with extra services to 'fill in the gaps' at peak times during the day to give a 1 train/h frequency.[6] Lancaster services will also be made more frequent, however it has been suggested they will be terminated at Skipton in future, rather than continuing through to Leeds as at present.[6] All of these plans are still dependent on getting enough government funding.

References[edit]

External links[edit]