Northern Powerhouse Rail 'must not be watered down to miss out Bradford', Tracy Brabin warns

A new station in Bradford must be part of the final plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail project to create new high-speed links between cities in the region, West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin has warned.

There have been recent reports that the Government is considering scaling back proposals for NPR to save money, with a direct link to Bradford being cut out of the route.

Ms Brabin told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday that must not be allowed to happen.

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“What is important for us is that stop in Bradford. We can’t have a watered-down version of our transport network,” she said. “Here in West Yorkshire, we have had £174 per head spent on transport. In London, it’s over £500.

Tracy Brabin has urged the Government to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full

“We have less per head than any other community across the country. We have been underfunded for decades.

“Now is the opportunity for Government to be bold, to be ambitious and to come with us with our vision for West Yorkshire to have that London-style transport system that will really make us that powerhouse we can be.”

But leaders in the North, while welcoming the investment, fear it could mean bigger projects such as HS2 or Northern Powerhouse Rail could be scaled back.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobbying group, told ITV: “The problem is that, without the full delivery of HS2, building from the North, starting from Leeds, down Sheffield, without Northern Powerhouse Rail and a new station in Bradford, the North of England will be short-changed.

“What we’ll see is levelling down rather than levelling up.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tempered expectations that leaders will get any answers soon, despite long-running speculation that the eastern leg of HS2, which was due to be built to Leeds, will be scrapped.

He told Trevor Phillips On Sunday: “What the money announced on Saturday was about is what we call ‘intracity transportation’, that’s about how do we get people who live in and around a city to be able to get into the middle of it and out again easily.

“We actually don’t do as well as we should do on that if you look at cities like, say Marseille or Lyon in France – it takes virtually no time at all, or within half an hour, for people to get from the out to the in. That journey time in some of our cities outside of London can take twice as long.

Mr Sunak said details about the future of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail would be “announced shortly” in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, which was originally due to be published last year but is now expected in November.