December 7, 2021

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Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool: What the Government’s new rail strategy mean for local areas

Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool: What the Government’s new rail strategy mean for local areas
Boris Johnson’s new rail plans for the North and Midlands are markedly different from recommendations from local leaders.

Leeds

Not only has the HS2 leg between London and Leeds been halted, but the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and TransPenine upgrades – which would have improved connections between Leeds and Manchester – have been downgraded.

The Government promised to carry out a review into high speed links to Leeds, but Council leader, Cllr James Lewis, did not appear optimistic.

He said that, by scrapping the HS2 Eastern leg, the Government was backtracking on the easiest section of the rail line to deliver.

“The Leeds-Sheffield connection is the most advanced and shovel-ready section of HS2 and NPR, and will bring immediate benefits between two core cities along with benefiting many communities in between by freeing up capacity on local routes,” he said.

“We already know there is no capacity to bring more trains into Leeds from the West and no more land available either. We are calling for the Leeds to Sheffield work to be fast-tracked and delivered without delay whilst the Government carries out yet more studies or reviews.”

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Bradford

Bradford, like Leeds, has been arguably short-changed by the decision not to have two separate lines linking Leeds and Manchester.

Bradford will not be included in the new version of the NPR and plans for a new station in the city have been scrapped.

Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said the changes have halted plans to connect to the mainline rail network for the first time.

“Many of those plans – which were years in the making – are based around the new station and the wider Northern Powerhouse Rail project, which the prime minister personally promised to deliver,” she said.

“The Government has just missed a golden opportunity to make an investment which would have repaid itself many times over by creating 27,000 new jobs in Bradford and delivering £30bn in economic benefits.”

Liverpool

Leaders in Liverpool had backed HS2 as well as NPR. Instead, the city will see upgrades to the existing line connecting Liverpool and Warrington and, from Warrington, a high speed line will be built through to Marseden.

Liverpool City Region’s mayor Steve Rotheram said the North was having to settle for “scraps off the table” and described the rail plan as “cheap and nasty”.

The Labour mayor said: “What message does it send to the millions across the Red Wall who lent the Prime Minister their votes in 2019? Perhaps we’ll find out soon.

“It’s the same old story, again and again. If the North had received the same per capita funding as London over the last decade, we’d have had £86bn more.”


Bradford, like Leeds, has been arguably short-changed by the decision not to have two separate lines linking Leeds and Manchester