THE decision to continue the HS2 line to within a few miles of York was last night hailed as a victory for lobbying by the city.
While a spur will take the line into Leeds, HS2 will continue north and east, coming to an end north of Church Fenton where it will join the existing rail network.
The decision will allow high- speed trains to continue to York, bringing down journey times to Birmingham and London for those in the city and further north.
Council leader James Alexander said: “Whilst the city currently enjoys an enviable position at the heart of the national railway network on the East Coast Main Line, we have been working alongside our private sector partners and York MPs to directly lobby Government Ministers for improvements to ECML and to ensure that the benefits of the High Speed Two programme reach the city, knowing that these projects are key to York achieving both a nationally competitive and leading international city economy.
“This commitment to the next phase of the HS2 programme means that York is set to realise real economic benefits upon its completion. With access to the country’s capital in just 83 minutes, York will become an even greater hub for tourism and business.
“We know that developments such as York Central are key to securing the long-term economic future of York and we now need to work to capitalise on today’s announcement, which provides a further boost in confidence to York as a city to invest.”
With the benefits of HS2 years ahead, the city’s attention is now set to turn to the future of the East Coast Main Line and the upcoming search for a private sector operator to run services on the route, taking over from the Government-backed East Coast company.