Cross Rail

Bradford has two city-centre railway stations. These are separated by only 1 mile.


A link between the two lines was first proposed in 1846, but was never built. When the plan returned in 1898, it was given authorisation in the Midland Railway (West Riding Lines) Act. However Midland dragged their feet and it wasn’t built. Again another act of Parliament was passed in 1911 entitled the Bradford Through Lines Act

Bradford Forster Square serves Skipton, Leeds, Keighley, Saltaire and Shipley, and travel upto Carlisle, and London Kings Cross, along the Airedale Line.

Bradford Interchange serves, Manchester Victoria, Blackpool, Halifax, Pudsey and Leeds, alone the Caldervale Line.

Some of the many benefits of through rail link between the two stations include:

  • Improved public transport usage across the city
  • Improved access to the North of the district from the Interchange
  • Bypass the congested Leeds Station
  • Create spare freight capacity
  • Create a Bradford / Leeds commuter loop
  • Increase tourism to the city via rail, with quick reliable services
  • True rail competition for Long rail distance services
  • Regenerate the neglected Westfield site
  • A starting point for further heavy and light rail services across the district.

Could it happen?

The project to start building the through line was given Royal Assent in 1911. Unfortunately with the intervention of the first world war, the development was placed on hold.

In the late 1980’s the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority (Metro) were in favour of the plan.

WYPTA (Metro) in fact were so excited by the project they didn’t want the Crown Court built over it’s planned route). – And when it became clear the Court was to be built they wanted land set aside for a rail-route. (Hansard).

Now we have the Westfield Development, currently a hole in the city, which does not improve our outward image. Bradford used to have a big hole in the ground for many years in the 40’s, it was where Bradford was bombed! (31st August 1940).

There is a Facebook group set-up to promote linking the stations here.

UPDATE!: Cllr John Pennington has renewed pressure for Cross-Rail (X-rail) in Bradford following publication of new plans, more information here.

Historical information:

John Thornhill

Hansard: June 22nd 1988


3 Responses

  1. I often travel via Stockport to S. Wales – the elevated section shows the area in a good light. Bradford could benefit likewise. I generally find journeys to Leeds are excellent – it’s the link to Bradford that spoils it all. It is overcrowded at peak times and later in the evening it is infrequent. Crossing Bradford City Centre after 7 pm (when the free bus stops) is dangerous and if a Leeds train is cancelled the quickest way across to catch the next train is by foot – not good for anyone other than an athlete. A modest start would be a tram link like Manchester, then some form of rapid link to Leeds, then Leeds/Bfd airport link – modest steps are necessary given the state of the economy.

  2. Er … the buffer stops at the two stations are separated by just 0.44 miles, rather than 1 mile as the first sentence of this article states.

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