Why the missing link in high speed rail plans for Yorkshire?

From: J Richard Kay, Oaks Green Mount, Rastrick, Brighouse.

WHILE welcoming the Government’s proposals for bringing high speed rail to Yorkshire with a direct link to Leeds from the south, I am concerned that the proposals in their current form do not include a direct link from Leeds towards York and the north, at the proposed junction between Woodlesford and Swillington for the spur to Leeds.

The plans for phase one of HS2 (London to Birmingham) show a triangular junction near Coleshill between the main lines to the north and the spur to Birmingham, so that trains from either south or north will be able to access Birmingham.

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Similarly, the plans that were published on January 28 show a triangular junction near Altrincham between the proposed main high speed line from Crewe to Preston and the spur to Manchester.

Thus both Birmingham and Manchester will be accessible to trains on the network running to and from both north and south. But Leeds, on the other hand, will only be accessible to trains to and from the Midlands and the south of England.

Jack Blanchard, your political editor, reported (Yorkshire Post, January 29) that Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The case for going ahead (with HS2) rests on the capacity it will provide, and the new connections it will create. It is not just about faster trains to London, but also changing the way our great cities work with each other.”

Has the Government forgotten that there are cities north of Leeds? What about a direct connection for Leeds to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh? The Scots are already pressing for high speed rail to be extended into Scotland, but even in its present form, HS2 envisages what is described as “Classic Compatible” trains running on the high speed lines and then continuing onto existing lines in order to serve destinations not yet included in the high speed network.

The two-track viaduct on the eastern approach to Leeds City Station has long been a bottleneck for services between Leeds and York. We should grasp the opportunity of increasing rail capacity out of Leeds to the north-east by ensuring that the HS2 proposals are modified to include the “missing link”.

From: Clive Bailey, The Crescent, Carlton, Stockton-on-Tees.

THERE is no doubt that the HS2 high speed rail project is a fine concept but typically it is too little, too late and too expensive by far.

The scheme is too little because the planners seem to have forgotten that we also have important industrial and commercial centres in the far north of England.

And what about Scotland? Will such fine cities as Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen have to make do with second best?

David Cameron talks about equalising the North-South divide but he would do well to study a map of the UK to find out where the North actually is.

HS2 is too late by about 40 years. We needed to build such a high speed network in the boom years of the 70s and 80s.

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

GOVERNMENT certainly moves in mysterious ways. The hounds of the media have now set off in hot pursuit of their quarry, the HS2.

Why all the fuss? Millions will be retired or dead before the thing is done.

Coupled with the unnecessary and very damaging uncertainty over the referendum, we have two policies which seem supremely irrelevant to the desperate state of our economy which requires action now.

May I suggest some positive discrimination in favour of our industry and business struggling in these parts? Surely there must be some scope in the way of grants, tax breaks and other favourable measures?

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

ONE questions the HS2 costs, currently standing at £32bn and asks if the project will ever be self-sufficient and self-financing or will it be yet another major project that will require a major subsidy for eternity?