I'm personally committed to bringing high speed rail to Bradford, says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has described his "very strong and personal commitment" to improving Bradford's transport links as he gave his strongest indication yet that trains on a proposed high speed rail link would stop in the city.

Speaking to business leaders and northern Conservatives tonight during the party conference, Mr Grayling said the West Yorkshire city was "woefully served" by its current rail system.

City leaders have been lobbying for Bradford to have station on the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail, which would see journey times to Manchester and Leeds reduced to 20 minutes and seven minutes respectively.

Mr Grayling, whose department has been accused of not providing as much investment in northern infrastructure as is spent in the South East, insisted the Conservative government was overhauling the region's creaking infrastructure.

He urged northern Conservatives to talk about positive changes taking place in northern transport such as the replacement of the region's ageing Pacer trains and talk it up as a place to invest.

Speaking at the event in Birmingham organised by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which also saw a speech from Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, he said: "The last thing I want to touch on is a very strong and personal commitment to making sure that Bradford benefits from this.

"It is really important to remember that the North isn't just about Liverpool and Manchester and Newcastle and Leeds and Hull, it is also about towns and cities up and down the region. That is why I am so committed to sorting out some of the issues in Cumbria.

"I am particularly aware of the fact that Bradford is a great and important centre in the North which is woefully badly-served by transport, rail in particular.

"Although there is a lot of work to be done, I really want to see Northern Powerhouse Rail come to Bradford, and I am committed to making sure that really does happen, because Bradford needs better links."

Earlier this year, an economic impact study suggested that creating a Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford could boost the UK’s economy by billions of pounds and add 15,000 new jobs to the region, it is claimed.

Analysts at GENECON said a revamped Bradford Interchange connected to the high-speed link could be the catalyst for wider city centre regeneration, significantly improving Bradford’s offer and making the city a more attractive place to live, work and invest in.

Transport for the North officials are working on plans for the link and expect to submit them to the Treasury in December, with a decision due early in 2019.