High-speed rail link report welcomed

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TRANSPORT bosses in Yorkshire have hailed a new report by a cross-party group of MPs which concludes that the new high speed rail links between London and the North is essential to prevent disastrous overcrowding on Britain’s railways.

A four-month inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail has found that High Speed Two (HS2) is the only viable project which would create the long-term capacity that Britain’s rail network requires.

There has been concern over recent weeks that the Treasury is trying to delay the project amid fears about its cost and opposition from Right-wing Conservatives from the South of England.

Councillor James Lewis, chairman of West Yorkshire transport authority Metro, said the new report was further evidence the Government must press ahead with the scheme immediately.

“The report confirms our own findings, which are that simply increasing capacity on traditional rail routes is not a long-term viable solution, and that despite huge investment, the lines would very quickly be up to capacity – as has happened with the West Coast Main Line upgrade,” Coun Lewis said.

”In the light of this report, the Department for Transport and Treasury need to show their commitment to this scheme which as well as generating an estimated £2.3bn of local business benefits and jobs in Yorkshire, will provide a significant boost to the overall UK economy.”

The report assessed a range of options to deal with the rapidly-increasing demand for rail use and found that only the construction of new high-speed lines would solve the problem long-term.

Graham Stringer, co-chairman of the Parliamentary group, said that claims by anti-HS2 campaigners that “piecemeal upgrades” of existing lines would create sufficient capacity have now been proved wrong.