Bradford Interchange vs Bradford Forster Square

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montyburns56

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Despite having never visited it, I've always had a soft spot for Bradford Interchange which I think stems from the fact that in it's early days it had quite a variety of services for a four platform station. I believe that in the 70s it had HST's, loco hauled services (including it's own Pullman service), parcel trains and DMUs.

So I've always wondered why was Forster Square electrified and had most of the mainline services transferred to it?
 
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Harpers Tate

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The second question is answered by the first. The first is answered as it tied in with the electrification of the Wharfedale (Ilkley) and Airedale (Skipton) routes (from Leeds, primarily, but with the obvious and almost unavoidable inclusion of FSq.). It was the two "..dale" routes that were deemed sufficiently busy to warrant the investment.
 

bluenoxid

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If you head back 25 years, the Calder Valley was recovering from a number of issues. The passenger service from Blackpool North was only a recent addition and the freight line through Brighouse was unlikely to see passenger trains for a number of years. Trains ran on to Manchester and there were a number of major infrastructure upgrades that would require any electrification.

Whilst the Ilkley line had been threatened with closure and the Aire Valley line could have become the new M650, those issues were 20 years old. The lines were reaching the point of requiring an infrastructure upgrade and passenger numbers were growing following the addition of a number of stations back to the network in the eighties and very early nineties. The route was booming and people were already filling trains heading into Leeds. Some scenic route north of Skipton had been subject to a successful campaign to save it, which was adding to passenger numbers as well. It was unlikely that the route was going to experience a reversal in fortunes.

Most of the route was also in West Yorkshire and the train services were self contained, which made it a reasonable contender as well.

Forster Square was given the capability to handle the limited number of London services and electrification sealed the deal. However, I understand that there are pictures of trains hauling Mk4 sets to Forster Square. I'm sure that I recall seeing a picture of a 31 doing it.

A similar ser of routes that I am surprised have not seen electrification are the lines serving South East Manchester.
 

30907

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In addition, ECML electrification would have meant dragging 225s to and from Bradford (or using HSTs, but there weren't supposed to be that many of those!), and the Interchange route is very steeply graded, whereas Foster Square is approached via the Aire Valley so is almost flat.

That was the ostensible reason for the change, but I have heard it from a reliable source that Shipley was seen to have more potential than either Bradford station (as an Intercity railhead for Airedale and Wharfedale, better than New Pudsey), and that was a factor. Those forum members who, like me, lived or worked in the area in the early 90's will understand why, though I have to say my source was not unbiased (any more than I am).
 

61653 HTAFC

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Actually, the East Coast Mainline services transferred to Forster Square well prior to the Electrification of the Airedale and Wharfedale lines, why this transfer was made I don't know but I imagine that the fact that Interchange is for the most part treated as a through station (whilst Forster Square is treated as a terminus) was a factor in the decision. Indeed after electrification of Forster Square the London services continued to be mostly run with HSTs rather than 91s as BR (and Railtrack) were concerned about tripping out the wires. It did eventually become a regular run for 89001 in GNER days though.

In terms of location, there's not much to choose between the two in terms of access to the centre of the City so it makes sense that Forster Square serves the (franchised) ECML services due to being wired. Interchange has a more direct route to Leeds though so it's not surprising that those services see higher use between the two cities.
 
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Hophead

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The Bradford service continued to be diesel for many years, because of insufficient electrical power in the OHLE.

The scheme was opportunistically financed by WYPTE off the back of the ECML electrification (the manpower was available to do the job). Rolling-stock was originally 2nd-hand from Network SouthEast - railway privatisation rather got in the way of the intended investment.
 

30907

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Actually, the East Coast Mainline services transferred to Forster Square well prior to the Electrification of the Airedale and Wharfedale lines, why this transfer was made I don't know

See my earlier post (which you probably couldn't when writing!). I didn't move to Shipley till 1997 so can't comment on the first few years, but by then electrics were pretty common on the Bradford trains, though of course the Skipton had to be an HST (and still is in one direction IIRC).
 

thejuggler

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Forster Square line also serves Shipley which has a large population within close distance who can benefit from a London service.

Interchange has two intermediate commuter stations with short platforms. Getting a full HST length platform at New Pudsey would not be easy. The station is immediately after a tunnel and a bridge carrying a dual carriageway and it is also on a curve. Bradford bound could be possible, but Leeds bound there is a large factory adjacent to the line immediately after the platform.

I understand Virgin will be increasing services from FS once new rolling stock arrives.
 

quantinghome

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Both stations will see significant changes to services in the next few years. As already stated, FS will be getting a two hourly service to kings cross. Interchange will get direct hourly services to Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester airport and Chester. Not sure what grand central have planned, but presumably they would want to run more trains.
 

yorksrob

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Bradford Interchange is a travesty compared to th Bradford Exchange station that should be.
 

matacaster

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A major factor in deciding to electrify Forster Square and transfer London services there was that people to the south of Bradford generally caught the London train at Wakefield Westgate as it was quite near, which had parking and was in the right direction (ie nearer London). Forster Square, and more importantly Shipley and Skipton, offered potential passengers from Bradford North a much better service to London as Wakefield was (and still is) a particularly painful road journey from the north of Bradford.
 
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I lived in Bradford as a student form 1971 to 1978 and have happy memories of both the former Exchange and Forster square stations before they were redeveloped. There used to be a once a day Deltic hauled service from Exchange direct to Kings Cross that did not call at Leeds.
 

61653 HTAFC

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I lived in Bradford as a student form 1971 to 1978 and have happy memories of both the former Exchange and Forster square stations before they were redeveloped. There used to be a once a day Deltic hauled service from Exchange direct to Kings Cross that did not call at Leeds.

Did that run via the Armley curve to access the Leeds branch of the ECML?
 

IanD

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Did that run via the Armley curve to access the Leeds branch of the ECML?

The Wortley curve. Continued well into HST days. 740 M-F off Bradford Interchange iirc.

Also picked up at New Pudsey so obviously no problems with the platform length back then.
 
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montyburns56

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Bradford Interchange is a travesty compared to th Bradford Exchange station that should be.

But the old station was a bit too big for the amount of services that it handled, plus I should imagine that the overall roof cost a fortune to maintain.
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Having looked at my Quail books I can see how it made sense to electrify the Skipton, Ilkley, Bradford FS 'triangle' for the local services at least. I know that the ECML electrification was done on a tight budget, but was any consideration ever given to electrifying Interchange as well as Forster Sq?

Also was Bradford Forster Sq rebuilt knowing that it would be Bradford's mainline station when the electrification came? And was it only served by local trains before it was rebuilt?
 
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IanD

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But the old station was a bit too big for the amount of services that it handled, plus I should imagine that the overall roof cost a fortune to maintain.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Having looked at my Quail books I can see how it made sense to electrify the Skipton, Ilkley, Bradford FS 'triangle' for the local services at least. I know that the ECML electrification was done on a tight budget, but was any consideration ever given to electrifying Interchange as well as Forster Sq?

Also was Bradford Forster Sq rebuilt knowing that it would be Bradford's mainline station when the electrification came? And was it only served by local trains before it was rebuilt?

Had the Exchange station building lasted just a couple of years longer it would probably still be there. Maybe not as a station though.

Before electrification, Forster Square only had trains to Ilkley and Keighley (maybe Skipton) and occasional summer weekend trains to/from Morecambe ( but I think even these had stopped a few years before). At one point the Ilkely trains were even terminated at Guiseley. All Leeds-Bradford trains served the Interchange.
 

yorksrob

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Had the Exchange station building lasted just a couple of years longer it would probably still be there. Maybe not as a station though.

It might have retreated into one of the arches, with the other maybe used for something else (car park maybe, or even a bus station of some sort) much like Hull Paragon.

However, as you say, had it survived a couple of years, it would have been listed - of that there is no doubt. I remember reading that at one time, BR was considering keeping the trainshed but just rebuilding the entrance. However, it seems that this plan must have been superceded by the interchange plan, more's the pity.
 

MontyP

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The Wortley curve. Continued well into HST days. 740 M-F off Bradford Interchange iirc.

Also picked up at New Pudsey so obviously no problems with the platform length back then.
In the opposite direction it was the 1550 from Kings X which ran directly to Bradford from Wakefield via the Wortley Curve, continued like this until mid 80s(?) when a Leeds stop was added. I caught it a couple of times between Wakefield and Bradford, to say it was lightly used would be an understatement! Having said that, I took the 18.33 from Kings Cross all the way to Forster Square a few weeks ago and there were precisely 12 passengers still on the train when it arrived into Bradford!

IIRC in the first few years of the IC125 timetable on the ECML, there were 3 or 4 other Kings X-Bradford services each day (extensions of Leeds services) as well as a couple to Harrogate - I think they were removed to allow additional services to Aberdeen.
 
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In the opposite direction it was the 1550 from Kings X which ran directly to Bradford from Wakefield via the Wortley Curve, continued like this until mid 80s(?) when a Leeds stop was added. I caught it a couple of times between Wakefield and Bradford, to say it was lightly used would be an understatement! Having said that, I took the 18.33 from Kings Cross all the way to Forster Square a few weeks ago and there were precisely 12 passengers still on the train when it arrived into Bradford!

IIRC in the first few years of the IC125 timetable on the ECML, there were 3 or 4 other Kings X-Bradford services each day (extensions of Leeds services) as well as a couple to Harrogate - I think they were removed to allow additional services to Aberdeen.

Back in the 70s there were many Bradford Kings Cross services via Leeds in addition to the direct service I mentioned earlier. The trains reversed at Leeds if I remember correctly.
 

Welshman

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Before electrification, Forster Square only had trains to Ilkley and Keighley (maybe Skipton) and occasional summer weekend trains to/from Morecambe ( but I think even these had stopped a few years before). At one point the Ilkely trains were even terminated at Guiseley. All Leeds-Bradford trains served the Interchange.

Going back further in time - in its heyday, before being rebulit, Bradford Forster Square was a major station, with through services/portions via Leeds City via Sheffield to London St Pancras, Birmingham, Bristol and the South-west, and services to Carlisle and Morecambe, in addition to the local services to Leeds City calling at stations which are just being re-opened on the Aire Valley line.

It was a magnificent structure, which, in its latter years, was given-over mainly to parcels traffic. You had to pick your way through barrows to find your train!
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Back in the 70s there were many Bradford Kings Cross services via Leeds in addition to the direct service I mentioned earlier. The trains reversed at Leeds if I remember correctly.

Before then, many Bradford/Leeds-London services were portion-worked - the main train running to/from Leeds Central, with a 3-coach portion, usually headed by a Stanier tank engine, from Bradford Exchange via Drighlington and Morley Top to Wakefield Westgate, where it was attached/detached from the main train.
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It might have retreated into one of the arches, with the other maybe used for something else (car park maybe, or even a bus station of some sort) much like Hull Paragon.

However, as you say, had it survived a couple of years, it would have been listed - of that there is no doubt. I remember reading that at one time, BR was considering keeping the trainshed but just rebuilding the entrance. However, it seems that this plan must have been superceded by the interchange plan, more's the pity.

Didn't the fact that the road overbridge at the entrance to Exchange station was getting to the stage that serious maintenance work would be required to continue its safety, plus the perceived need to provide a bus station for all of Bradford's bus terminii, inspire the building of Bradford Interchange on the other side of the bridge?

They also originally built a maintenance depot under the bus station - a bus garage with a bus station on its roof... hmm!
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The Wortley curve. Continued well into HST days. 740 M-F off Bradford Interchange iirc.

Also picked up at New Pudsey so obviously no problems with the platform length back then.

Also, am I right in thinking the Wortley Curve was never officially closed - just abandoned?
Dig a little under the sycamores and you will still find the old rails, still intact.
 

yorksrob

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Didn't the fact that the road overbridge at the entrance to Exchange station was getting to the stage that serious maintenance work would be required to continue its safety, plus the perceived need to provide a bus station for all of Bradford's bus terminii, inspire the building of Bradford Interchange on the other side of the bridge?

They also originally built a maintenance depot under the bus station - a bus garage with a bus station on its roof... hmm!

In terms of the bridge, quite possibly (such reasoning for poor decisions was far from unknown at the time).

With regard to the bus station, there was a fairly large carriage shed next to the original Exchange station which could have possibly become the site for a bus station.
 

Welshman

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Despite having never visited it, I've always had a soft spot for Bradford Interchange which I think stems from the fact that in it's early days it had quite a variety of services for a four platform station. I believe that in the 70s it had HST's, loco hauled services (including it's own Pullman service), parcel trains and DMUs.

IIRC, the Bradford portion of the Yorkshire Pullman [and indeed the whole Pullman], had ceased to operate before Bradford Interchange opened.

But it certainly used the old Exchange station, along with even a through service to London Marylebone ["The South Yorkshireman"] in its heyday.
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I lived in Bradford as a student form 1971 to 1978 and have happy memories of both the former Exchange and Forster square stations before they were redeveloped. There used to be a once a day Deltic hauled service from Exchange direct to Kings Cross that did not call at Leeds.

Indeed - I well remember that service being introduced. Wasn't it called "The Bradford Executive" or something like?

Incidentally, it wasn't always "Deltic" hauled. On the day of its introduction, the Deltic was parked in the sidings the other side of the wall adjacent platform 10, and it split the rails!!
 
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Harpers Tate

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At one point the Ilkely trains were even terminated at Guiseley.
Actually, in an act of the madness (or was it malicious intent?) that was typical of the day, it was the Leeds services (i.e. those with the greater potential demand) that terminated at Guiseley for most of the day with through passengers being required to wait ~10 minutes at Guiseley for a forward connection on a train from Bradford FSq.
 

montyburns56

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IIRC, the Bradford portion of the Yorkshire Pullman [and indeed the whole Pullman], had ceased to operate before Bradford Interchange opened.

I dunno about the Bradford portion, but I've seen photos that says that the Yorkshire Pullman last ran in 1978.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Forster Square was given the capability to handle the limited number of London services and electrification sealed the deal. However, I understand that there are pictures of trains hauling Mk4 sets to Forster Square. I'm sure that I recall seeing a picture of a 31 doing it.


I know there's a nice picture of a 47 hauling a MK4 set to Forster Square on this site.

http://www.derbysulzers.com/holbeckseven.html
 

Spartacus

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I lived in Bradford as a student form 1971 to 1978 and have happy memories of both the former Exchange and Forster square stations before they were redeveloped. There used to be a once a day Deltic hauled service from Exchange direct to Kings Cross that did not call at Leeds.

I was just about to mention that one! I read somewhere there was an official requirement negotiated by the council that Bradford had to have a direct service to KX not via Leeds, and it was simply easier to do this out of Interchange and the Wortley curve than crossing Whitehall Jn to Engine Shed which would avoid Wakefield too. It was only after this was abolished that BR were able to switch across the city.
 

BenBru

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I've posted the 1985/6 pocket timetable here --

Front: https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishletterpress/8587216858/in/dateposted-public/
Back:https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishletterpress/8587218292/in/dateposted-public/

Showing at 0718 Pullman Service, calling at Leeds too.

I understand that during the late 1970s Forster Square was being positioned as the parcels side of the city -- the Grattans Empire being served from here, as well as the nearby Royal Mail depot. BR had decided that passengers would be best served from Interchange and freight from Forster Square -- leading to the run-down of the station as I remember it in the late 1980s while still running from one platform of the original station.

As others have mentioned -- electrifying Interchange would have led to calls to continue the job through the Calder Valley and the money could not be found. The self-contained line for the Gin and Jag brigade to Ilkley and the Skipton lines seemed ideal and hence Forster Square became Bradford's InterCity station.
 
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