Reopened Ripon rail link back on the agenda

Back in the day: Ripon Railway Station
Back in the day: Ripon Railway Station

Calls to reopen the Ripon railway could finally be answered now a new transport plan has been approved.

The county council has included plans to create a new line from Leeds to Harrogate, Ripon and Northallerton as part of the strategy to upgrade the East Coast Mainline.

The scheme has been listed in the Local Transport Plan, which was approved by North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive on Tuesday and includes plans to improve the A59 around Harrogate.

However, it is not likely to happen until after 2030.

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for Highways, said: “Certainly as far as the county council is concerned, any increase in the railway network in the county will be welcomed. But we have to be realistic, the line has been closed and the rails taken up for almost 50 years now.

“However, we are aware Network Rail could be interested in reopening a line that would come down through Ripon and Harrogate and also serve an additional purpose of being a diversionary route.

“I’m aware of many people in Ripon that would like to see the railway line reopened and it’s an ambition we totally support, but it would cost tens of millions of pounds to create that new line.”

While the section of the railway between Leeds and Harrogate still exists, trains to Ripon stopped in 1967. Since then, many have campaigned for the line to be reopened.

Independent Ripon city councillor Peter Horton said: “It looks like a long time scale and we really need something to happen quickly.

“We are going to be subject to a lot more housing development and there will be all the extra commuters.”