Bradford-Halifax-Barnsley-Sheffield via Crigglestone? Greengauge 21 outlines ambitious plan for Leeds-Sheffield corridor.

Could a route in the lower Calder Valley be reopened to transform connectivity between Bradford, Calderdale, Barnsley and Sheffield? The Crigglestone curve was one of the five curves that carried just a few trains on summer Saturdays until closed in the mid-1980s. Three of the curves formed the Halifax-Huddersfield railway that reopened with Brighouse station in May 2000. The Crigglestone curve, which carried weekly Bradford-Weymouth train, branched off the Calder Valley line at Horbury Station Junction where Horbury and Ossett station used to be and linked to the Wakefield Barnsley-Line.

The curve has not been used since, but HADRAG members have held on to the idea that this would be a very useful link indeed if reopened for an hourly service every day from Bradford to Sheffield. We reckon trains serving Low Moor, Halifax, Elland (we hope!) Brighouse, Mirfield, and a reopened Horbury and Ossett, could then run fast to Barnsley, Meadowhall and and Sheffield. We reckon Bradford Interchange to Sheffield would take no more than 75 minutes; Brighouse to Meadowhall about 50 minutes.

And it would be much more attractive for Halifax and lower Calderdale passengers than the big trail round via Leeds. The map below shows the wider Leeds-Sheffield discussed in a recent report by Greengauge 21 ( )

Map shows the Leeds-Sheffield corridor as envisioned by research group Greengauge 21, Sheffield-Leeds: What’s Next, December 2022. Reproduced with thanks.

Greengage 21’s new paper ( ) advocates immediate action to provide a second fast service every hour Leeds-Sheffield via Wakefield Westgate. A new main line station at Rotherham could be served. On the Barnsley route, East Midlands trains from St Pancras could be extended through to Wakefield Kirkgate and maybe on to York via Castleford.

Greengauge 21 says Bradford-Sheffield would be in a second phase headed initiate planning. The proposed new station at Horbury would serve Ossett, described as the largest town in Yorkshire without a trains. The proposal not only delivers new connectivity for Bradford, Halifax and the Horbury-Barnsley corridor, but also avoids the inconvenience of indirect travel via Leeds for people heading for South Yorkshire, Midlands and beyond. The new service could be extended to the East Midlands, maybe Leicester.

These are feasible ideas that the would allow the railway to make progress, and passengers to feel the benefit, years, maybe decades before plans, still being considered, for new high speed routes come to fruition.

Reinstating tracks along the Crigglestone curve would be a relatively minor piece of engineering. Not as sexy as a new high speed line, but almost as useful!

So we could, just maybe, see Bradford-Sheffield trains coming through Halifax in about 10 years time. HADRAG will certainly be campaigning for that. We have already suggested the possibility of the service through Brighouse is increased one train an hour could go to Wakefield and on to York. Maybe trains to Barnsley and Sheffield could complement that. See our updated policy paper below.

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