HIGH SPEED rail between Leeds and Sheffield would be fast-tracked by a Conservative government, the Prime Minister will promise today as he tours the region.
David Cameron will set out plans to build the proposed Yorkshire stretch of the HS2 line early as a stand-alone scheme rather than waiting for the whole of the second phase to be built from Birmingham to the North.
Building the Leeds to Sheffield line early would bring forward redevelopment schemes associated with the new HS2 stations in South Yorkshire and Leeds as well as cutting journey times between the two cities.
The line could also form part of a proposed high speed rail link to Manchester and Mr Cameron will confirm a design to integrate north-south and east-west high speed lines will be in place by the end of the year.
Construction of trans-Pennine high speed rail could begin in the next five years, the Prime Minister will say.
HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins has already been asked to come up with plans to redevelop Leeds station to prepare for high speed rail with a report due in October.
The Prime Minister will today tour through a string of key Yorkshire marginal seats he needs to win and hold if the Conservatives are to form the next Government claiming infrastructure projects such as HS2 will be put at risk by a Labour-SNP coalition.
The Prime Minister said: “Our plan for the working people of Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire is clear, specific and ambitious.
“It is a long term economic plan with a timetable for delivery, each year bringing new jobs, rising living standards, and more investment.
“It brings security to people at every stage of their life. It is a plan from a Conservative Party that can point to a track record of growing the northern economy and creating jobs.
“And a plan from the only party offering Yorkshire, and the whole North, a real vision for the future.
“We can say, with this plan, that the Conservatives are now the party for the North.”