Why it's important high speed rail must go ahead - The Yorkshire Post says

High speed rail links across the Pennines are absolutely vital to Yorkshire’s prosperity in the years ahead.

In particular, were the route to be downgraded, Bradford would lose out on the high-speed link that is vital to its future development.
In particular, were the route to be downgraded, Bradford would lose out on the high-speed link that is vital to its future development.

For far too long, our region has been held back by an essentially Victorian rail network that simply is no longer able to cope with the demands made upon it.

This places obstacles in the way of developing the economy and creating much-needed jobs.

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The Government has long promised transformational improvements, and this region has taken it at its word.

And so it is deeply concerning that fears are growing over whether the high-speed link between Leeds and Manchester will go ahead. Government documents seen by this newspaper suggest that the plans may be scaled down, and rather than a new line being built, the route will follow the existing trans-Pennine link.

This is completely unacceptable. Not only would it be a hammer blow to the region as transport campaigners point out, it would also be a betrayal of communities and those who live in them.

In particular, were the route to be downgraded, Bradford would lose out on the high-speed link that is vital to its future development. That is an intolerably unfair prospect.

Boris Johnson came to power promising to level up the economy and close the north-south divide that has proved so damaging to Yorkshire. He was specific in his commitment to developing Northern Powerhouse Rail, acknowledging its importance in allowing our economy to achieve its full potential.

He must now make good on that promise, which means a guarantee that there will be no scaling down or abandonment of high-speed rail.

There has been much talk but little action on levelling up so far, and if Mr Johnson is to command any respect or credibility in this region, he must not short-change its people on essential new rail links.