HS2: Tracy Brabin says Leeds has been left 'in limbo' for six months

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said people in Leeds have been “in limbo” for six months as they wait to find out whether HS2 trains will ever reach the city.

The Government sparked a backlash when it appeared to scale back plans for the high-speed line in November, as part of its £96bn Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).

According to the plan, the eastern leg of HS2 will stop at East Midlands Parkway, but trains will then run on an existing line to Sheffield and £100m will be spent on a study that will “look at the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds”.

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Ms Brabin said: “Six months on from the publication of the IRP, we are still waiting for the government to provide detail on the remit of the promised studies which will look at different options to bring HS2 services to Leeds and options to resolve capacity issues at Leeds station.

Tracy Brabin has been calling on the Government to build HS2 in fullTracy Brabin has been calling on the Government to build HS2 in full
Tracy Brabin has been calling on the Government to build HS2 in full

“While the government’s decisions on the IRP are disappointing, we’re committed to work with them to deliver what has been promised and I urge them to involve and work with us on these studies.”

It comes as MPs are due to debate proposed legislation on building the HS2 line between Crewe and Manchester, as part of Phase 2b, this week.

“While this Bill moves forward plans to deliver high speed rail to Manchester, I am frustrated that we remain in limbo in West Yorkshire,” said Ms Brabin.

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Andrew Stephenson, Minister for HS2, told The Yorkshire Post in February he is “completely committed” to ensuring HS2 trains reach Leeds.

He said the study will look at the original plans, upgrades to existing lines and a hybrid approach.

Ms Brabin and other Northern leaders have called on the Government to build HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full.

In the IRP, the Government promised £17.2bn for a 40-mile high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Marsden in Yorkshire.

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It also opted to upgrade and electrify the existing Transpennine Main Line as part of a £5.4bn project, but refused to build a new line between Leeds and Liverpool, which Transport for the North (TfN) had been calling for.

The Government has said that building the NPR as suggested by TfN would cost an extra £18bn, open in 2043 and shave just four minutes off the journey between Manchester and Leeds.

But it also states that under the new plans, some NPR trains will begin running this decade, and journeys between Manchester and Leeds will be 22 minutes faster.

According to the 162-page Integrated Rail Plan plan, the upgrades will cut journey times from Leeds to Liverpool to 73 minutes (currently 106) and Leeds to Bradford to 12 minutes (currently 20).

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