Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve rail connections between Bradford and (a) London, (b) the rest of the Northern Powerhouse and (c) the rest of the UK.
Answer: Claire Perry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
Under the new East Coast franchise Bradford will benefit from a significant increase in the number of direct services to and from London with an additional 6 trains per day from 2019. In addition upgraded train interiors will be introduced by 2017, and new IEP trains from 2020 - providing faster journeys and improved on-board facilities.
As part of the first steps to delivering the Northern Powerhouse the Government has required bidders for the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises to replace outdated trains, add a third more capacity and invest in stations. The Government has specified an increase from 2 to 3 trains per hour between Bradford and Manchester via Halifax from 2019 (Monday-Saturday) and an increased Sunday frequency – from two hourly to hourly – from Bradford to Skipton and Ilkley.
Looking further ahead, HS2 will enable significantly improved journey times from Bradford via a connection at Leeds to a wide range of destinations. The Government has also established Transport for the North (TfN) to formalise cooperation with Northern City Regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships on transport issues in the North. The Department is working closely with TfN, Network Rail and HS2 Ltd to take forward the development of rail plans to support the development of the Northern Powerhouse.