Share

Bradford has the worst rail connections of any British city – with the rest of the bottom six all in the North or Midlands, a new study has found.

Researchers analysed more than 3,000 real-life train journeys between Britain’s 20 largest urban centres, and found London was the best connected while four out of the remaining top six are all in the south or Scotland.

The top six cities for connectivity – in descending order after the capital – were Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow and Brighton. The bottom six were Bradford, Nottingham, Hull, Coventry, Liverpool and Leicester.

The rankings – compiled by the People, Places, Policy and Data Unit – were based on the number of services available to other cities and the speed of the links. Both are crucial statistics for determining the ease of commuting.

Researchers analysed more than 3,000 real-life train journeys between Britain's 20 largest urban centres

Researchers analysed more than 3,000 real-life train journeys between Britain's 20 largest urban centres

Researchers analysed more than 3,000 real-life train journeys between Britain’s 20 largest urban centres

Today MPs said the findings proved the urgent need to improve rail services in the regions if the government is to achieve its levelling up ambitions.

It comes ahead of the publication of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, which will set out how HS2 and two other projects dubbed Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine will improve services outside London.

The study used route plans from Google Maps to calculate the speed, in miles per hour, that someone would have to drive to keep pace with inter-city train services on journeys between major cities.

Bradford – despite being Britain’s seventh biggest city, and enjoying a central position on the UK map – finished bottom of the pile due to a lack of direct routes and slow connections on its underinvested lines.

It has just four direct trains to London per day.

In the case of journeys from Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Nottingham, Stoke, someone driving to Bradford could keep pace with ‘fast’ early-morning train services by travelling at less than 40mph.

Northern leaders have been lobbying for the Northern Powerhouse Rail route to go through Bradford to slash journey times to Manchester by two-thirds to 20 minutes and to Leeds by more than half to ten minutes.

Analysis by global infrastructure consultants Arup found that the station would bring 6.7 million people and an area of over £167bn of annual economic output within a 35-minute journey of central Bradford, boost the city’s economy by almost £30bn over a decade and create 27,000 new jobs.

Worst connected: BRADFORD. despite being Britain's seventh biggest city, and enjoying a central position on the UK map, Bradford finished bottom of the pile

Worst connected: BRADFORD. despite being Britain's seventh biggest city, and enjoying a central position on the UK map, Bradford finished bottom of the pile

Worst connected: BRADFORD. despite being Britain’s seventh biggest city, and enjoying a central position on the UK map, Bradford finished bottom of the pile

The study also issues east-west connectivity across the north, with both Liverpool and Hull among the five worst connected.

London, not surprisingly, emerged as the best-connected city. For a majority of the other cities, a motorist would have to drive in excess of 80mph – often well in excess – to keep pace with a London-bound train.

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail is absolutely vital for the economy of the North and to deliver on the Government’s levelling up agenda.

‘A station on the NPR line in Bradford is also crucial for the local economy in the Bradford district.

‘A city the size of Bradford needs much better rail connections and this is the perfect opportunity to address this – and ensure the Bradford district can thrive economically in the future.’

Labour MP for Bradford South, Judith Cummins said: ‘This research proves that Bradford has the worst rail connections of any major city in the country. It really is time for the government to realise that they cannot level up the North without connecting Bradford.

Source: Be the Best Communications, using data from Trainline and Google Maps

Source: Be the Best Communications, using data from Trainline and Google Maps

Source: Be the Best Communications, using data from Trainline and Google Maps 

‘It is time for the government to finally act and invest in our transport infrastructure in Bradford and across the North, which must include Northern Powerhouse Rail with a city centre stop in Bradford.’

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, added: ‘It’s a huge economic failure that Bradford, despite being sandwiched between the north’s two biggest cities, remains cut off from opportunities and growth due to its poor transport connectivity.

‘Bradford has all ingredients for a thriving city: a young, diverse population, world-class universities on its doorstep and ambitious local leadership – but its productivity stands at around 70% of the national average. Cities like Manchester need their talent in order to grow a labour market to match that of London and the south east.

‘The Integrated Rail Plan is the government’s chance to change that and to deliver on its promises to level up the north.

‘We need a stop in Bradford on the new Northern Powerhouse Rail line between Manchester and Leeds, as well as full delivery of HS2, including the Eastern Leg, to bring jobs, investment and opportunities to people here.’ 

Source: Daily Mail UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *