IN many cities, railway stations have become major visitor destinations after their redevelopment opened up new retail, leisure and commercial opportunities. The same, however, cannot be said for Bradford where its two stations are visual reminders of the extent to which Yorkshire, and the North, has been shortchanged by successive governments.
Yet this could change if plans to transform the station at Bradford Interchange get the green light as part of a wider scheme to build a high-speed railway across the Pennines. A week after the city set out a dynamic economic strategy, the initial plans for a remodelled station – released today – demonstrate a wider ambition which could boost the economy by £15bn.
Its determination, reflected by the leadership of Bradford Council chief executive Kersten England and leader Susan Hinchcliffe, has the potential to boost this region’s transport infrastructure so the whole of Yorkshire can attract a new generation of jobs and investment. Their task now, as the case for extra funding becomes more compelling with each passing day, is to persuade the Government to prioritise Northern Powerhouse Rail. It should be possible. A senior politician said last year after visiting Bradford: “I’ve taken away the very clear message that we need to make sure that Bradford is a part of this project in a way that ensures it gets the productivity it needs.”
That Minister? Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He must now honour that commitment with the enthusiasm that he’s given to Crossrail 2 in London.