HS2 should arrive at a central underground station in Leeds - Yorkshire Post Letters
Richard Thorp (The Yorkshire Post, September 7) rightly demands that this government and presumably the next reassure ‘the North’ that our transport needs are priority, but I disagree with him as to what those needs are.
If HS2 is eventually to reach Leeds, then it should arrive at a central underground station, trains having come from Manchester Airport via a tunnel and sub-surface station in Manchester. This would then allow trains to continue eastwards to York and Scotland effectively creating an ‘S’ type network from Glasgow to London with an electrified branch from the south-west connecting at Birmingham Airport.
The present east and west coast mainlines offer an adequate capacity which could be enhanced by the removal of bottlenecks and the creation of a four-track line where possible.
Any high-speed line would function better as an alternative to air travel both within Britain and to the near continent if the uniquely British obsession with antiquated methods of checking passports could be neutralised. Hence Manchester Airport could become a transport hub for both air and rail with Amsterdam passengers travelling by train but Athens passengers by air.
However, the transport need for now is within cities. The cost of HS2 is beyond out of control yet I have been repeatedly accused of profligacy for proposing a central area rail tunnel for Leeds at a cost of maybe six billion pounds.
Such a tunnel with underground stations at key passenger objectives such as Leeds Eastgate would constitute the core of an electrified suburban rail network of the type that exists in Glasgow and on Merseyside and Tyneside.
This would improve the daily transport experience of the many rather than the relatively few who would benefit from what even HS2 could bring.