Government must revive 'revolutionary' plan for Bradford high-speed rail link, says Yorkshire Tory

The Government should revive plans to include Bradford on the Northern Powerhouse Rail route, a senior Yorkshire Conservative has said.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton and co-chair of the Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire All Party Parliamentary Group, said building a new high-speed line from Leeds to Manchester via Bradford would have been “transformational in terms of the Northern economy”.

With the Government committing £100m to a study on how to connect Leeds to the HS2 network after the original Eastern leg plans for the city were scrapped, Mr Hollinrake said a similar review should take place on the NPR route which is currently due to miss out the city.

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Mr Hollinrake said there were “some good things” in the Integrated Rail Plan. But he added: “The disappointing bit was we had expected Northern Powerhouse Rail would a completely new line that connects Leeds directly to Bradford directly to Manchester.

Kevin Hollinrake hopes the Government will look again at creating a new high-speed rail link between Bradford and Manchester.

“That would have been revolutionary and transformational in terms of the Northern economy. That is not going to happen as is drafted now. For people in Bradford, their fastest route to go to Manchester will be to go to Leeds and then Manchester. That isn’t very efficient in many ways and misses a big economic opportunity for Bradford.

“It currently takes 55 minutes as a minimum to get from Bradford to Manchester and it is only 40 miles. We want to halve that journey time at least.

“I would like the Government to look again at that and improve that Bradford-Manchester connectivity to make that journey much more efficient, effective and increase capacity.

“It would be good for Leeds, Manchester, Bradford and the entire North.”

When Mr Hollinrake raised the idea of putting money from the HS2 feasibility study into an improved connection between Bradford and Manchester in Parliament on Wednesday, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said the funding was specifically for HS2.

But he added: “We are keen to continue working with Bradford and local stakeholders to deliver benefits to that area.”

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