A WHARFEDALE MP is calling for a range of local rail improvements.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) made his comments ahead of an expected announcement about a new timetable for the Harrogate line.

Confirmation of some new, higher specification trains for the line - which serves Horsforth and Weeton - are expected, but Mr Sobel believes other changes are also needed.

He said: "Leeds is the largest European city without a mass transit system.

"We are therefore currently dependent on ensuring that bus and heavy rail routes are operating at the highest possible level.

“It looks like we are going to replace the pacer trains with a newer model which underlines the commitment that the transport authorities have to the route that serves commuters from across my constituency.

"But there are other important improvements that can be made too.

"If we are to create an increased shift to trains from cars we need more trains operating earlier in the morning and later at night, as well as more trains operating every quarter hour."

Mr Sobel would also like plans for a new parkway train station on the Harrogate Line, to serve Leeds Bradford Airport from 2023, to be implemented sooner.

He said: "I repeat my call for the new Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway - creating a rail link to the airport and park and ride facility for commuters - to open in 2021 rather than 2023.

"This will allow people to commute quicker into Leeds whilst, at the same time, relieving the A660 from the ever increasing traffic flow.

"It will also help to reduce the dangerous levels of Nitrogen Oxide and particulates in the air, which is risking the health of people in Leeds North West."