HIGH speed rail is absolutely essential for our region if it is to realise its economic potential in the years and decades ahead.
Without it, there is a very real risk that the North will fall yet farther behind the South.
That means any obstacle to either the HS2 line reaching Yorkshire, or Northern Powerhouse Rail transforming links across the Pennines has to be viewed with a great degree of concern, not least because amid uncertain economic conditions there is a possibility of the Government reneging on funding commitments.
We need high speed rail across all of the North, leaders warn Boris Johnson after Leeds to Manchester pledge
So it is very much to be hoped that the dispute over whether a £6bn NPR station in Manchester should be built above or below ground can be resolved both quickly and amicably, as any sign of dissent amongst the North’s leaders sends entirely the wrong message to the Government.
It is more than ever necessary for the great cities of the North to present a united front in their dealings with London, to have settled and fully-formed plans and above all to speak with one voice.
Boris Johnson backs 'visionary and exciting' Northern Powerhouse Rail project
For the Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, to depart from that by refusing to support the £39bn NPR scheme because he wants a station built underground, and not on the surface, is, to say the least, unhelpful and potentially delays HS2.
This cannot be allowed to happen, especially after the Prime Minister came north for his first engagement outside London and pledged support for a high-speed line between Leeds and Manchester.
Boris Johnson and his Northern Powerhouse Rail test – The Yorkshire Post says
The North must keep its focus on the main prize – transformational new transport links that mean companies in Yorkshire and elsewhere can prosper and their staff get to work quickly and efficiently, both of which are desperately needed.
That is what matters, and any disputes must firmly be set aside in order that it is achieved as rapidly as possible.