It is expected 400,000 passengers a year will use the new £18 million Elland Railway Station when the project is fully delivered by 2022.
Designs for the station – at Lowfields Way – and the wider area will see three new pedestrian bridges ultimately constructed to maximise access to it, including one providing an easy route to West Vale, linking the town and station to the village via Clay House and an existing cycle path.
The station – part of it will be built on a flood plain, its only restriction – will be elevated but easy access for all will come in the form of lifts at both sides of the station, which will be served by a minimum of two trains every hour, linking the town to Leeds and Huddersfield in one direction and offering outlets to Manchester and East Lancashire’s major towns.
There is also the possibility Grand Central trains may stop there, giving the town a London service.
Rail operators are already in talks about using the station.
The borough’s Corporate Lead for Transportation, Mary Farrar, who was outlining the plans for comment by members of Calderdale Council’s Place Scrutiny Board, said the council already owned land on the site, which had been selected as the most suitable from three explored, with parking for 164 vehicles and a site identified nearby for more spaces which would be fairly easy to access.
The station will also be easily accessible to other public transport such as buses, pedestrians and cyclists.
The West Vale route will require a bridge over the River Calder, while in Elland new bridge crossings over the Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation will connect flyover and underpass links with an improved riverside park en route to the new station, and enhanced pedestrian routes and cycleway will all have a role to play when the project is fully completed.
Extensive waymarkers will steer people from further out along the routes which lead to the station.
The council’s Assistant Director for Infrastructure, Mr Steven Lee, said it was estimated for every £1 of investment, £3.90 would be earned back for Calderdale.
Extensive consultation including workshops, a town hall session and online and social media methods, demonstrated 66 per cent of those asked would definitely use the station.
Coun Jenny Lynn said the project was really excellent and asked at what point discussions with train operators would begin, given completion of the project was only around two years away. Mr Lee replied conversations were already ongoing.
Coun Roger Taylor (Con, Northowram and Shelf) queried whether the number of parking spaces would be enough because “if you want to encourage people to do it let them bring their four-wheeled monster, park at the station and get on the train.”
To alleviate potential space-hogging by non-rail users, it had been recommended that an ANPR number plate recognition system would need to be in use.
Board chair Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said he believed the station would be a success and urged planning for a multi-storey car park.
“I look forward to moving on to the next stage of the project,” he said.
Stopping traffic migrating onto the business park itself would require parking limits, said Coun Regan Dickensen (Con, Rastrick) and Mr Lee agreed time restricted zones for Lowfields would be needed.
The board heard final detailed designs would be consulted on in due course.