Ditch HS2 in favour of Leeds and Bradford underground lines – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.

I AGREE with the National Infrastructure Commission’s recent conclusions that rail investment should be concentrated on improvements to the East Coast main line and the Midland main line at the expense of the eastern branch of HS2.

Wakefield is a major rail centre but would be bypassed by HS2. There is great need for improvement to rail services in the North.

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Articles written by rail engineers show that the industry is increasingly of the view that the high-speed stations in Manchester and Leeds should not be termini, but rather through underground stations which would allow say very high speed trains from Berwick to Manchester Airport.

Commuters arrive in Leeds - how should regional rail services develop in the New Year?

Let’s not make the 21st century equivalent mistake of the 19th century Bradford bourgeoisie who insisted on termini stations so that the name Bradford was prominent at King’s Cross – or is this an urban myth?

In the greater Leeds area, a metro-style system could be delivered by a new high-speed line from south of Church Fenton to the lower Aire Valley west of Rothwell, with through national trains serving Leeds via a station under South Bank and then use new links to Manchester. A T-shaped link could allow HS3 between Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Other central Leeds locations such as the Infirmary and the Arena could be served by a “transverse wave” city centre tunnel giving direct access to South Bank and used S-Bahn style by municipal trams (e.g. from Seacroft/Whinmoor) as well as regional trains (Ilkley to Selby).

There is diminished value in spending vast amounts of money on high-speed trains only for passengers to spend longer negotiating a few miles of traffic to access the station than their intercity journey.

Will HS2 help or hinder the development of local rail services?

Hence a passenger should be able to board a tram at West Park roundabout and switch to a Bristol train seamlessly at the newly built South Bank station, giving direct access to the national network at the end of the street.

Let’s hope that 2021 brings developed plans to tunnel under Leeds and Bradford to offer the best quality rail network possible and I will support the mayoral candidate who sees that the future of rail transport for West Yorkshire is underground.

Not only is the eastern branch of HS2 not needed, its costly construction would hamper more useful local enhancements. Daily quality rail for the many, not just the infrequent few.

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