Electrifying North’s railways and return of trolleybuses is better value than HS2 – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Sir Andrew Cook CBE, Chairman, William Cook Holdings Ltd, Sheffield.

Will the Government's Integrated Rail Plan benefit Yorkshire - or not?

AMIDST the torrents of mud being slung at the Government for cancelling the eastern leg of HS2, it is worth pausing for an objective consideration of the facts.

Fact One: Newcastle, Leeds and West Yorkshire already have an intensive two-hour train service to King’s Cross, using new, though admittedly somewhat spartan, trains.

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Fact Two: with its direct Thameslink connections to Heathrow, Gatwick and even Luton airports, as well as no less than five underground lines, King’s Cross offers far better connections than does HS2’s projected ‘dead-end’ Euston terminus.

Will the Government's Integrated Rail Plan benefit Yorkshire - or not?

Fact Three: with its ludicrous out-of-town station five miles distant from the city centre, HS2 did nothing for Sheffield and actually increased door-to-door travel times between the so-called ‘steel city’ and the capital.

Fact Four: what is really needed, certainly for Yorkshire, is an upgrade to the regional network, to include electrification of the Standedge, Hope Valley and West and South Yorkshire lines which form the Leeds-Sheffield-Manchester ‘triangle’.

Together with the Sheffield-Kettering ‘gap’, this creates a fully electrified regional network connected to London via the Midland line, and which, with improved trains of greater capacity on the Trans-Pennine and West Riding conurbation routes, would eliminate the disgraceful embarrassment of the current system.

Also, reconsider the peremptorily discarded Leeds trolleybus proposals as a supplement to the intended tram system. Let the money saved on HS2 be spent on these improvements, and real value will be achieved.

Will the Government's Integrated Rail Plan benefit Yorkshire - or not?

From: Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy, British Chambers of Commerce.

BUSINESSES continually operate between all four nations of the United Kingdom and an effective strategic transport network is critical to that. If we want to improve productivity, boost trade, and continue to make progress towards net zero, then the UK’s entire transport system must be properly integrated.

Following recent U-turns on high-speed rail investment, businesses will be keen to see how Ministers deal with the need for increased capacity across the network and keep high speed rail, including the missing sections of HS2, alive.

Businesses are waiting for meaningful proposals and solid investment that will drive growth and prosperity.

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