Published On: Tue, Jun 24th, 2014 on 12:55 pm

On HS3: ‘We must not lose sight’ of ambitions, remind transport authority

HS2 Train

Plans to develop a third high-speed railway to link cities in the north of England, including Leeds, has been welcomed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

But the authority has also reminded that improvements and ambitions, such as the electrification of the Caldervale Line and improving centres in all regions, should still be in focus.

It comes on the back of a speech made by Chancellor George Osborne who argued that he wants to go beyond the north-south HS2 to create an east-west HS3, which would create a third high-speed railway to link cities in the north of England.

Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and West Yorkshire Combined Authority member, Roger Marsh, said: “Throughout the High Speed Rail debate, we have stressed the importance of connecting our northern cities, so I am delighted the government has recognised the immense potential our region has to become an economic powerhouse of the north, that can compete for the UK globally alongside London and the South East.

“I would welcome a further conversation with the Chancellor to maximise this opportunity for the Leeds City Region – and indeed the country.”

It was argued by Mr Osborne that a third high-speed railway line is needed in the north because the cities are “collectively not strong enough” to challenge the dominance of London.

Mr Osborne said: “The cities of the north are individually strong, but collectively not strong enough. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. So the powerhouse of London dominates more and more. And that’s not healthy for our economy. It’s not good for our country.”

The proposed high-speed line would go from Manchester to Leeds and will be based on existing rail routes but would be speeded up with new tunnels and infrastructure.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair, Cllr Peter Box, said: “With an economy larger than seven EU countries, West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region already has the potential to be an economic powerhouse but we have been pressing for improvements to connectivity across the north of England to build upon that foundation and welcome the Chancellor’s statement in that context.

“Complementing HS2 by developing an east-west HS3 route connecting major cities across the north would drive economic growth, but we also need to see the types of improvements that our planned £1.6bn WY and York Transport Fund will deliver.

“I was pleased, therefore to hear that Nick Clegg has backed the WY and York Transport Fund and would welcome any ‘pressure’ he can apply to George Osborne to get the Fund approved.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair, Cllr James Lewis, added: “We have long been calling for improvements to east-west routes across the north and I am pleased that the electrification of the Trans-Pennine route is now in the pipeline.

“However in starting to talk about HS3, we must not lose sight of other important ambitions such as the electrification of the Caldervale Line and other improvements that would provide centres like Bradford, Halifax and Wakefield with much improved connections to Leeds, Manchester and beyond.”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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