South Leeds on track for new mass transit system

Plans for a tram system running through Leeds and Bradford have been set out today (7 March 2024) , with a line to Elland Road and White Rose in the first phase.

The proposals were published today ahead of the final Combined Authority meeting of West Yorkshire’s leaders next week (14 March) before May’s Mayoral election. The meeting will see them agree to a major step forward for the so-called mass transit scheme as the West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin aims to revolutionise the region’s transport network. It is hoped that spades will be in the ground in 2028 when construction of the early stage of the project will begin.

Phase one would include two lines serving Leeds and Bradford, The Leeds Line and the Bradford Line. The Leeds Line would take people between St James’ Hospital, through Leeds city centre and on to Elland Road and the White Rose Shopping Centre.

The Bradford Line would run from Leeds city centre to Bradford city centre – also linking Bradford Forster Square station with the new Bradford rail station. This line supports Bradford’s plans to regenerate the city’s southern gateway, which includes the new Bradford rail station.

The Combined Authority would also work with Kirklees Council to look into how to include a Dewsbury Line in future.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said:

 “Today is a key milestone in our plan to create a better-connected region that works for all. By setting out our plans to submit to government, we are taking a major step forward towards the biggest infrastructure project West Yorkshire has seen since the development of the motorways six decades ago.

“This will be transformational for the North, helping our communities to thrive and our economy to flourish – benefitting generations to come with greater opportunity and prosperity.

“We know that mass transit systems have successfully helped to regenerate areas right across the country by boosting connectivity, opportunity and prosperity – and we will work tirelessly to make sure that happens here in West Yorkshire.”

The Combined Authority will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that future phases of a mass transit network reach Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale, ensuring no part of West Yorkshire is left behind.

The submission of the Combined Authority’s “strategic outline case” document to the Department for Transport is set to be approved by members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on 14 March. The document will then be sent by the Mayor to the government for approval to continue with the development of the scheme.

The project will be subject to a full business case and approvals process. Today’s announcement does not pre-empt the exact route, which will be subject to full public consultation.

The Combined Authority will ask the public to have their say in the summer on the possible routes, with the two “phase one” Leeds and Bradford lines expected to be joined later by potential further schemes covering the rest of the region.

It will also work on a £1 million mass transit development fund to be set aside to support the Dewsbury Line Development Project, which will look into how to get mass transit to connect Kirklees with Leeds.

The mass transit system will form a key part of a wider integrated transport system in the region, seamlessly integrating with bus, rail, cycling and walking, so that everyone can get across the region with ease.

Leader of Bradford Council Susan Hinchcliffe said:

“West Yorkshire is currently the biggest region in the country without a mass transit system. These tram proposals are part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for comprehensive new transport links, which will undoubtedly enhance people’s lives.

“We are already making good progress on developing plans for better rail transport nationally for Bradford, and this exciting new mass transit system supports our aim to connect Bradford more widely across West Yorkshire and also to connect the two Bradford city centre stations.”

Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“Mass transit will transform transport across our city and the wider region, helping to boost our economy and bringing our communities within easier reach of jobs and leisure opportunities.

“This is an important step forward in delivering mass transit, but there is still much to do and we are committed to working with the Combined Authority and our partners so this can be achieved for the benefit of people across West Yorkshire.”


This post is based on a press release issued by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Image: An artist’s impression showing features of a regular urban transport corridor featuring a mass transit system. It does not necessarily reflect any future design of a mass transit system in West Yorkshire.


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6 Replies to “South Leeds on track for new mass transit system”

  1. Very welcome! Transport in Leeds is a big issue and this would be a much needed addition, especially to lower the number of cars and, ergo, amount of air pollution. Hopefully this can link up other areas without train stations too?

  2. Tracy Brabin is deluded. They’ve been talking about this for the past 30+ years!! They all come out of the woodwork when it comes to elections, all these promises and nothing is ever delivered! Both Leeds and Bradford councils are an absolute joke too! They’ve known about transport issues for years and have done nothing but blame government, even when their own party was in power! Get these idiots out!!

  3. Is this supposed to be as well as or instead of the train. Remembering Cuttingly are supposed to be losing their station might they be covered by this. Great its a tram because its the greenest form of mass transport but so sad they gave such a scant description of where it will go and what else it would affect. I was just about to download the artists impression then I saw the disclaimer saying it did not represent what it would look like. At least that gave me a laugh. We knew that cos the cyclist didn’t have balaclavas on

    1. Hi Linda, this is in addition to existing rail lines. Cottingley station will close once the new White Rose station has opened, probably later this year. The route of the tram is subject to local consultation this year and a public enquiry before work can start in 2028.

    1. Hi Janice, as it says in the article, the route will be subject to public consultation later this year.

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