Leeds trolleybus: Next stop South Leeds!

The proposed trolleybus route through South LeedsLeeds today heard the words from it never thought it would: “Go ahead with your plans for a new trolleybus”.

The government has said it will give £173.5 million funding for a trolleybus scheme – and the big news for south Leeds is that one of the routes is due to cut right through south Leeds.

The Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus  project, officially “put on ice” due to funding cuts back in 2010, would establish routes to the north of the city to Holt Park and south to Stourton, and a city centre link.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiP3BEN5jz0&w=560&h=315]
The Leeds trolleybus scheme is of significant economic, social and environmental benefit to a city which in the past decade has missed out on funding for a supertram network and has suffered a legacy of transport under-spending.

It is the first new trolleybus scheme in the country for about 40 years and will help to create 4,000 new jobs locally, according to Metro, West Yorkshire’s publicly-funded passenger transport authority.

But what does it mean to south Leeds?

The preferred route of Metro is for the South Route to  start at a new park & ride site at Stourton, near the intersection for the M1/M621 (at junction 7 of the M621), and would travel into Leeds through Hunslet and Clarence Dock.

The route starts at the Park & Ride site, it then diverts from the A61 along a new ‘NGT-only’ link road next to the railway line, before passing outside  Hunslet District Centre.

Key issues highlighted by transport chiefs for south Leeds include:

  • It directly serves Hunslet District Centre;
  • Will imporve the area outside the centre, but…
  • … Dedicated link road would result in some loss of land from allotments, recreational areas and land along the railway boundary.

Here’s an image of what the area around the centre would look like:

Hunslet District Centre before and after: Before NGT and an artist’s impression of what it could look like in 2018

Speaking about today’s news, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said:

“This is great news for our region, by speeding up journeys into and around Leeds, improving local connectivity and preventing the growth of congestion, NGT will provide a £160m per annum boost to the local economy and the creation of 4,000 permanent jobs.

“Transport is a key driver of productivity and investment in local transport infrastructure is investment in the long-term economic future of the Leeds City Region. NGT will speed up our recovery from recession, boost our economy and enhance our ability to compete on the national and international stage.”

Having now gained ‘Programme Entry Approval’ Metro and Leeds City Council can now begin the formal process for obtaining the legal powers needed to operate a modern trolleybus network. These powers will be sought through a ‘Transport and Works Act Order’ this autumn, followed by a Public Inquiry in 2013, and construction could then begin in 2016 with the UK’s first new trolleybuses operating by 2018.

Work is expected to start in 2016, with the network operational by 2018.

An artist’s impression of the planned Leeds trolleybus in City Square

Details of the planned NGT trolleybus network can be found at http://www.ngtmetro.com. The overall scheme costs £250 million. Local authorities will pay the shortfall in government funding.

6 Replies to “Leeds trolleybus: Next stop South Leeds!”

  1. Yet again, Middleton,Beeston &amp Belle Isle seem to be left out! Surely an area of high Public Transport dependency such as these area’s should also be served by by this new and exciting service as should Chappletown and Harehills in the north of the city?

    1. But surely, as a man of the cloth, you will see the relevance of those words from the bible to the situation as now pertains in the new Britain: ‘To him that hath it will be given, and to him who hath not it shall be taken away.’

  2. Interesting that the cheapest and most efficient route was the one from Tingley through Middleton towards the city with segregated dedecated space but as a cost cutting excersise they decided to cut this option rather choosing the most expensive route through Headingley this trolley bus idea is a fall back scheme because the tram was too expensive the idea should have been scrapped . The new transport idea was started 20 years ago and through the mismanagement of Metro has cost 1 million a year to keep alive strange that Nottingham and Croydon managed to bring a tram system to their residents within 5 years

  3. The route will be of little benefit to the vast majority of people living in South Leeds. For commuters coming into the city from the south it should provide improved access and may help reduce congestion a little. However, residents living in the Holbeck, Beeston, Middleton and Belle Isle areas will not be able to make use of any advantages offered by a trolley bus service. I am sure the money could be better spent elsewhere. Bring back the old tramways!

  4. How come they can electrify the London to Sheffield railway line (165 miles) for £500m and it costs £250m for 8.5 miles of trolley bus wiring, all this extra money will be coming out of our Council Tax. It is a antiquated system that cities in the World are getting rid of in favour of tram systems. Leeds has taken nearly 30 years to improve transport in Leeds and have failed. Leeds as the third largest city in England and the Largest city in the EC not to have any form of Tramway, Underground or Light Rapid Transport. The city of Leeds deserves better than a outdated bus system with a wire above it. It wont get people out of cars to travel on a bus

    1. Not really sure where you gain your information from since trolleybuses are far from antiquated, but your comments are yet another example of the fact that Leeds folk wanted a tram system and feel disappointed to be receiving what they see as a lesser option.

      We from Bradford kept faith with trolleybuses much longer than did Leeds and we want trolleybuses. In fact Metro promised them to us in 1978.
      It strikes me that the answer is simple:

      Let the ungrateful citizens of Leeds smother in diesel fumes and install trolleybuses in Bradford where they will be appreciated!

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