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Leeds airport rail map

UK: Leeds City Council will call for public consultation to improve road and rail access to the airport.

Leeds Bradford Airport is a key economic asset for Leeds and the wider region, supporting over 5,000 jobs and contributing £336million to the city region economy each year. It is one of the fastest-growing airports in the UK, with passenger numbers predicted by the Department for Transport to rise from four million in 2017 to 7.1million by 2030 and over nine million by 2050.

To support this expected growth at the airport and to support job creation in the wider north west Leeds, the council working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds Bradford Airport and key stakeholders has put forward some key investment proposals, including a new airport parkway rail station, located on the existing Leeds-Harrogate Line, with a short connecting spur road to the airport to provide a shuttle bus connection similar to that at Luton Airport. This would also serve as a park and ride service for destinations on the Leeds-Harrogate Line and beyond.

Improving rail access to the airport has long been an ambition for Leeds, but the location of Leeds Bradford Airport and its topography meant any direct rail connection would be very difficult to achieve and would be prohibitively expensive.

According to the Council, the potential for a parkway station nearby to serve the airport by rail and both Leeds and Harrogate has now come about as part of the Connecting Leeds transport strategy, with the city receiving funding of £173.5m from the government to invest in transport network improvements.

Offering rail connectivity to the airport does not, however, remove the need for better road access.

“The latest figures from regional airports including Manchester show that 84 per cent of passengers travel to the airport by car or taxi despite there being direct rail links. Therefore, as Leeds Bradford Airport continues to grow, it is vital that we look at ways to alleviate increased traffic on the road network in north west Leeds as well as plans for a rail connection, Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said.

All of the key details on the proposals to be considered together will be available in the consultation, to take place early in 2019.

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POLAND: Polish railway company PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe SA has received EU funding for the reconstruction and modernisation of the partially disused railway line connecting Tarnowskie Góry and Zawiercie.

The EUR 117 million investment comes from the Operational Program Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020 and will create a new direct rail access to Katowice Airport. The estimated journey time from Tarnowskie Góry to the airport is 17 minutes and from Zawiercie about 23 minutes.

The total value of the project is EUR 173 million and the construction works are planned to start in 2020 with the estimated opening in 2022.

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RUSSIA: RZD International and the group of Vietnamese investors headed by Lung Lo Construction Corporation, signed a partnership agreement on the Project of Construction of the Light Metro Line linking Tan Tạo - Linh Dong - Long Thanh Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai Province.

Under the agreement RZD International will provide expert support and prepare preliminary feasibility study for the project.

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USA: The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) has started the renovation and expansion work on the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport rail station.

The $4.7 million renovation will include an expanded waiting area, new ticketing facilities, a concession area and restrooms. Construction is expected to last 14 months.

“Our customers truly will appreciate the new features in the renovated MARC station at BWI,” said Andrea Farmer, MDOT MTA’s director of MARC Train. “We will provide not only a more aesthetically pleasing station, but a much more functional facility to best meet the needs of our riders.”

During construction, the station will continue to be open for both train and bus service. A temporary station at the north end of the site will continue to provide MARC and Amtrak customers with ticketing services, a waiting area and restrooms.

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Helsinki rail

FINLAND: Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has approved all seven bidders who submitted the applications to operate commuter rail service, including the airport Ring Rail Line service, for 10 years starting in June 2021.

The approved bidders include two state rail companies - Finland's VR Group Ltd and SJ AB from Sweden. The remaining five bidders are Arriva Sverige AB, MTR Nordic AB, Transdev Sverige AB, First Rail Holdings and The Go-Ahead Group plc.

HSL will now conduct individual negotiations with the bidders with the aim to ensure that all the necessary details in the bidding and contract are taken into account.

"We are very pleased that so many qualified applicants participate in the bidding process. We have good chances to reach the goals of the competition," CEO HSL Suvi Rihtniemi said.

According to Rihtniemi, the goal of the tender is to provide a better functioning commuter rail services with lower costs. New operators will be task to improve the quality and reliability of the rail service as well as better integrate it to the wider public transport system in Helsinki.

The winner of the bidding is due to be announced in April 2020. The successful tenderer will be awarded a 10-year contract for managing and operating the commuter rail services in Helsinki area from June 2021.