Yorkshire Mayors call for action on high-speed rail in the North

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire and Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire’s Mayor, say they want more clarity on Government plans for high-speed rail in Yorkshire.

One year on from the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, both mayors have criticised the lack of progress on bringing high-speed rail to Yorkshire.

The Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) cut the extension of the high-speed HS2 line from the East Midlands to Yorkshire and replaced it with the promise of a £100m study, including how to run faster and more frequent trains between Sheffield and Leeds.

The mayors said the Chancellor has now rowed back on the Government’s promise to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) in full.

Brabin and Coppard added that since Transport for the North’s preferred route was first revealed in 2014 it has been cancelled, re-announced and altered by Government over 60 times.

Coppard said: “The current state of our train services is just another example of what decades of underfunding and underinvestment have done to the transport network across the north. That’s why we urgently need the Government to launch the long-awaited network study that they promised us and commit to upgrading services here in Yorkshire.

“My hope is that the new Government acts fast, commits to working in partnership with myself and other Northern Mayors and treats this with the seriousness and urgency it deserves.

“To grow our economy, create good jobs and connect our cities, towns, and villages, Yorkshire needs the full fat Northern Powerhouse Rail, not the semi-skimmed version.”

Brabin said: “One year ago today, the Government shafted us with a substandard rail plan that did not meet the ambitions for a stronger, fairer and better-connected North. Since then, we’ve seen next to no progress. Instead, we’ve witnessed countless U-turns, more instability and further chaos.

“Northern commuters shouldn’t have to pay the price for the Government’s costly mistakes on the economy. The people we represent should have the same level of transport investment and funding the South has benefitted from for decades.

“But it’s not too late to turn the tide. And we hope the new Transport Secretary will finally commit to this much-needed infrastructure, rather than condemning Yorkshire to the slow lane for generations to come.”