Rail plans to bring over 124,000 extra businesses to Leeds City Region

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Transport for the North is to submit a report to the Government in December which outlines plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

City leaders from Bradford, Leeds and York have welcomed the move to bring fast and frequent rail services to the region – and the opportunities for businesses and residents.

Bradford, Leeds and York will be on the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, which will operate with greater capacity and at significantly higher speeds than existing cross-Pennine services.

The network will feature a faster route to Manchester via Bradford as well as improved connections to Newcastle and Sheffield, utilising the new HS2 infrastructure.

Research commissioned by Transport for the North has shown that the Northern Powerhouse Rail could bring more than 124,000 extra businesses and over 2.6 million more people within 90 minutes travel time of Leeds city centre.

Constructing a new hub station bringing Northern Powerhouse Rail into Bradford could provide a boost of £1.5bn a year to the local economy and create thousands of extra jobs, research has also shown.

The programme will also mean a 34% increase in the number of people living within an hour’s travel of Leeds City Region.

With continued research and analysis, Transport for the North is creating fully-costed proposals for the multi-billion pound scheme.

Tim Wood, Transport for the North’s director for Northern Powerhouse Rail, said:  “Leeds City Region is fast becoming the North’s digital capital, carving an enviable reputation as being at the forefront of new technologies and embracing start-ups.

“Add that to its culture and leisure offer, it is becoming a global destination. But to continue to grow, it needs better, faster and more seamless rail connections to the rest of the North of England.

Wood added: “With Northern Powerhouse Rail, we can transform rail travel for Leeds City Region at a scale witnessed only once in a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to deliver a world-class railway for the North, bringing with it massive opportunities for the city’s future.

“Bringing over 124,000 businesses within easier reach of its city centres and millions more northern citizens within commutable distances will further strengthen the City Region economy and see its key sectors flourish for decades to come.”

Cllr Judith Blake, West Yorkshire Combined Authority member and leader of Leeds City Council said:  “Calling at a re-modelled and modernised Leeds Station, Northern Powerhouse Rail will provide the fast links for so many more businesses and people across the Norththat our City Region’s commuters and businesses urgently need.

“As well as a stunning redesign of the city’s station we are also well on with work to improve our local transport networks to ensure we are Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2-ready and that the benefits of both are shared by everyone across Leeds and the wider region.

“These aren’t just transport schemes. They are about linking everyone into the whole network and making sure that a child born in our City Region today can access careers and opportunities across the north, can build that business, can access the investment, education and training they need and can be part of realising a Northern Powerhouse by and for all.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, added: “Fast efficient transport links are vital in generating inclusive economic growth and these statistics give a clear indication of the huge impact that Northern Powerhouse Rail will have by providing fast, frequent and reliable rail links between the North’s six major city regions.

“Combined with HS2, it will cement our position as the largest City Region economy outside London as well as supporting the kind of inclusive growth we are generating to benefit everyone who lives and works here, right across the North.”  

Northern Powerhouse Rail will feature new and planned rail lines, as well as major upgrades to existing routes, supporting the creation of more than 850,000 additional jobs in the North of England and an extra £100bn into the economy by 2050.