Boris Johnson: Our Integrated Rail Plan for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in Yorkshire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, writing in The Yorkshire Post, today puts forward his Government's long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan.

Faster journeys, to more places, more quickly. That’s what Yorkshire can look forward to thanks to our multi-billion pound investment in the North’s railways.

Because I believe you’ve been stood waiting on the platform for long enough.

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Under our Integrated Rail Plan, Northern Powerhouse Rail will run from Leeds to Manchester in just 33 minutes, cutting journey times almost in half, with long stretches of brand-new high-speed track. Capacity will double.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

I promised to fund NPR between Leeds and Manchester. This does that – this is one of the three options presented to us by Transport for the North – but it does more. We will also take NPR to Liverpool, York, with benefits for the Tees Valley and Newcastle.

HS2 will come to Sheffield, meaning a trip to or from London will take just 1 hour 27 minutes – precisely the same as under the old HS2 plans, and fully half an hour faster than now. And we’ll look at how to get HS2 to Leeds too, with a new study on the best way to make it happen.

But high-speed rail is grindingly slow to build. Under the original blueprint, first drawn up more than a decade ago, Yorkshire would have not have seen the benefits of our investment until at least the 2040s. Levelling up can't wait that long. And towns like Wakefield, Doncaster, Dewsbury and Huddersfield would have suffered as trains were taken off the existing main lines.

So rather than just waiting for another two decades for a scheme that snubs much of Yorkshire, we will do more, and sooner.

Rail passengers delayed at Leeds Station. Picture by Simon Hulme.

The travel time between Leeds and Manchester will be almost identical to what was promised under the old plans, but you’ll see trains leaving platforms far sooner.

By the early 2030s, the journey from Leeds to Bradford will be cut almost in half, with trains hurtling between the two cities in as little as 12 minutes. London will be 20 minutes closer to Leeds, Wakefield and Doncaster on an upgraded East Coast Main Line. The Trans-Pennine Main Line will be electrified and expanded. So will the Midland Main Line.

Most journeys are under 30 miles, but the old plans did little or nothing for local transport. Our new plans will. By later this decade, Leeds will no longer be the largest city in Europe without a metro because we today commit to build West Yorkshire Mass Transit, and to the funding needed to see it through. And even sooner than that, we'll install London-style contactless ticketing on Yorkshire's commuter network.

Connectivity is key to prosperity, and that’s what this £96bn blueprint delivers. Not just speeding up journeys between London and a few cities 20 years hence, but levelling up communities right across Yorkshire today.

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