Government promises tram network for Leeds

News that the Government will scrap plans to extend HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester also confirms some of the cash due to have been spent on this leg of HS2 will fund a tram system for Leeds instead.

As part of its £36bn “Network North” scheme, the Government says it will enable the West Yorkshire Mayor to take forward a fully funded £2.5bn “mass-transit metro”.

The Network North report states: “This ensures that Leeds will no longer be the largest city in Europe without a mass transit system.

“This could create a transformative network of up to seven lines, which could eventually connect Leeds with Huddersfield, Wakefield, Bradford and Halifax – coming into operation well before HS2 would have reached the region.”

However, previous ideas to equip the city with its own tram network have been mooted for many years without coming to fruition.

Leeds Supertram, a proposed light rail/tram system in Leeds and West Yorkshire would have been a three-line, 17-mile system with 50 stations.

It received provisional Government approval in 2001 but fears about rising costs led to the scheme being scaled back then cancelled in 2005.

In 2021, the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Leeds would gain £200m of “immediate funding” to plan and build a mass transit system.

The project was part of the Government’s £96bn Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).