THE bid for a rail station at Haxby is expected to go before the Strategic Rail Authority in December.

City of York Council is preparing to bid again for SRA funding to build the £1.7 million station in Haxby, which will use the existing Trans-Pennine Express service.

The council hopes to get the money from the SRA's Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) fund, which is dedicated to local and regional rail projects.

If railway company First agrees in principle to its Transpennine trains stopping at Haxby, the bid will go before the SRA at the start of December.

The SRA will then be expected to make a decision on the station in six to eight weeks and the outcome of the bid will be announced early next year.

If the bid is successful, the council plans to pursue funding to build stations at Strensall and York Hospital.

Coun Ann Reid, executive member for transport and planning, said: "We are still determined to expand rail links in York, and a station at Haxby is, in our view, the first step towards doing this.

"A phased approach has proved to be the only way forward, and we will be continuing to work towards providing new stations at York District Hospital and Strensall in the future."

The rail service running between York and Harrogate could receive a major boost if plans to upgrade the line are given the go-ahead.

Assessment work on the Harrogate line has been completed, and the assessment has concluded that the line has potential for upgrading. Further work is now planned to look at the cost of a second phase of assessment work on the line.

If the line is upgraded, it will mean more trains running between York and Harrogate. The trains using the line will be of a higher quality.

Network Rail is also investigating the possibility of building a station at Copmanthorpe.

Coun Reid welcomed the assessment of the Harrogate line.

She said: "Letting the train take the strain is one important way that we can make a positive impact on traffic congestion in the city."

Updated: 08:37 Monday, October 20, 2003