West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin says region needs both Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Transpennine Route Upgrade

It is “really vital” that Northern Powerhouse Rail is built alongside any investment into the Transpennine route, according to West Yorkshire metro mayor Tracy Brabin.

The former Batley and Spen MP said the proposed rail project has to be “absolutely separate” to any work done on the existing line between Leeds and Manchester.

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Speaking in Bradford on Wednesday Ms Brabin told reporters “There seems to be some conversations about the Transpennine route getting more money and that being Northern Powerhouse Rail we can’t afford that to happen. It has to be absolutely separate.”

The Yorkshire Post has previously seen government documents which suggest that rather than building a new high speed rail line between Leeds and Manchester, the project could now follow the route of the existing Trans-Pennine line through Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Northern leaders fear that the high speed route may now not include a station in Bradford city centre, something considered vital for the city's economic fortunes.

Labour’s Ms Brabin said that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had voiced his support for the Northern Powerhouse Rail project, but that questions on the issue now have to “dig deeper” as she called for Bradford to still be included in any plans.

“Does that mean Transpennine reinvented or is that Northern Powerhouse Rail?” Ms Brabin asked.

Tracy Brabin, Susan Hinchcliffe and Jim McMahon speak to the media in Bradford. Pic: Northern Powerhouse Partnership

“I would make the argument very loudly that it has to be absolutely separate with Bradford having that stop”.

Ms Brabin welcomed the idea of more funding for the Transpennine route, but said that the scenario “can’t be an either-or” and described the situation as “really vital we have both.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “not able to give chapter and verse on where the stops are going to be” and said he would “have to get back to” the people of Yorkshire on Northern Powerhouse Rail’s route.

Leader of Bradford Council Susan Hinchcliffe said the city needs to be “connected to that opportunity” that having a Northern Powerhouse Rail station in the area would bring.

Visiting the site of the proposed station in Bradford with Ms Brabin and shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon she explained: “I think we’re at a moment in time now where the Government can really show that if they want to level up the north, Bradford is the place to put Northern Powerhouse Rail connecting to Leeds on that through line between Leeds - Bradford - Manchester and that will be a real mark of their real intent when it comes to levelling up.”

Mr McMahon also said it’s “just not on” that communities in the North of England have to “fight like mad” for investments compared to the capital and that “We are not taking no for an answer.

“The North has been promised now on 60 occasions that we will get Northern Powerhouse Rail, he said.

“It’s not unreasonable on the 61st time that we ask them to show us the money.

“I think it’s really important that the North isn’t expected to choose between significant infrastructure investments in the way that London just doesn’t have to.

“It’s accepted that London will see significant investment in the billions but when it’s the North of England we have to fight like mad for it and it’s just not on anymore.”