From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.
SCRAPPING HS2 would not be a betrayal of Leeds.
On the contrary, if the funds allocated to HS2 were to be used to develop a fully electrified regional express metro system centred on Leeds and Bradford, then this would be of potential daily use to hundreds of thousands of people with central area tunnels in both cities helping to open up a range of passenger objectives (such as Leeds Playhouse) and freeing space at Leeds Station for longer distance services.
There is a need for extra capacity on the inter-city rail network but putting all the financial eggs into the HS2 basket is not the answer.
Sorting out the bottlenecks on the East Coast Main Line and the East Midlands line with full electrification of the latter, and reopening useful links such as Skipton to Colne or Harrogate to Northallerton via Ripon, would better meet this objective.
Both HS2 and HS3 are designed to take people away from West Yorkshire, either to London or Manchester.
We wish these cities well, but our local politicians should be the champions of a system which enhances the regional role of Leeds and Bradford.
There should be a regional rail tunnel under the centre of Leeds, with stations at places like City Square and Eastgate, with the tunnel going under the Aire to allow direct access to the new SouthBank development.
A similar tunnel in Bradford would enhance its regional importance.
Furthermore HS2 does nothing to reduce congestion and improve the environment in Leeds itself. Why invest billions on knocking half an hour off the journey time to London for a handful of passengers whose business can pay, whereas tickets for the retired, and ageing Bovingtons and other hoi polloi, will be unaffordable?
The Swiss city of Zurich – a major financial centre like Leeds – with its electrified suburban rail network and central area tunnels is a model for Leeds. Haven’t I done well actually to find a city with an excellent record of transport development that isn’t in the EU?
Oslo and Bergen are also examples to emulate. For that matter, so are Jerusalem and Addis Ababa. In fact just about anywhere. Scrap HS2 and develop a network that prioritises people coming to work, shop and have fun in Leeds, not Manchester or London, such as at our wonderful new world class Playhouse.