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Plans unveiled for city tram link

9 July 08 15:12 GMT

Plans for a new transport link between York, Harrogate and Leeds have been unveiled by council bosses.

A study supported by York City Council and Leeds City Region - a partnership between 10 local authorities - recommended a city tram-train link.

A tram-train can travel on existing tram and train lines, and a trial of the new vehicle has been commissioned for Sheffield and Huddersfield in 2010. If the trial is successful it is hoped the York and Leeds plans can go ahead.

The government trial will see tram-trains replacing standard trains on the Penistone line between Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield from 2010 for a minimum of two years.

The proposed line between Leeds and York would not open for many years, but councillor Steve Galloway from York City Council said he was "optimistic" about plans.

He said: "The tram-trains are faster, more economical and have the ability to go off heavy rail tracks.

"In the Leeds area this could be a real advantage as the tracks could be developed away from the station and existing tracks.

"Because the tram-trains are lighter than trains, they can be used on existing road infrastructure, such as bridges, so an extension is more practical."

The Penistone trial is a partnership between train operator Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

The 37-mile Penistone line has 17 stations and is used by 1.2m passengers a year.

Other lines to be considered by the feasibility study include a link between Harrogate and Leeds-Bradford airport.

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