High Speed Rail: Good for Yorkshire?


1:30pm 10th January 2012
(Updated 2:20pm 10th January 2012)

Confirmation that the Government is to proceed with the construction of a high speed rail link between London and the North of England has been welcomed in Yorkshire.

The project – known as “HS2” – will see 400 metre-long trains travelling at up to 225mph between London and Birmingham and on to Leeds and Manchester by 2032.

The whole project will cost £32 billion.

Various figures from the world of Business and Politics in Yorkshire have been giving their the plans:

Neil McLean, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, which covers Harrogate and Craven, said:

"The national high speed rail network offers a unique opportunity to transform the economic prospects of the Leeds City Region and the North, deliver significant productivity benefits and accelerate economic growth. 

"As the existing intercity, inter-regional and local rail network is running out of spare capacity, a high speed rail network is urgently required to accommodate projected business and leisure demand for rail travel down the east coast, to the Capital, Heathrow and mainland Europe.

"Today’s announcement is the first step in what could be great news for the future growth of the city region economy."

Kris Hopkins, Keighley and Ilkley Conservative MP, said:

"Despite pressure from London-centric interest groups and self-serving individuals in the wider South East, I am delighted that Justine Greening (Transport Minister) has done the right thing for the country in general and the North in particular.

"The Prime Minister has said that HS2 is a necessary means of rebalancing our economy and spreading economic growth out of the South East, and I could not agree more.

"As we look ahead, it is equally vital that Yorkshire gets its fair share of the rewards on offer during the construction phase in the form of jobs for local people and contracts for local businesses, and I will be doing all I can in the coming months to make this point to ministers and officials across Whitehall."

Tony Hallwood, Commercial Director at Leeds Bradford Airport, said:

"The announcement this morning is excellent news in terms of the government being willing to invest in our outdated and tired UK transport infrastructure.

"We see high-speed rail link as an integral part of developing a wide range of other transport infrastructures right across the UK.

"Certainly it will actually bring greater prominence to Leeds' business and industry and allow quicker access to other UK markets.

"However, we have to understand that it is 20 years away and in the meantime the Leeds City Region has to fight its corner in a very challenging and competitive market place."

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