HS2 Leeds: Residents fear city is falling behind after HS2 ‘kick in the teeth’

People living in Leeds believe the city is falling behind because the Government has overpromised transport upgrades and under delivered, according to new research.

High Speed Rail Group commissioned the study to find out about the perceptions of transport investment in Leeds, after the Government appeared to cut the city from the route for HS2 in 2021.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) claimed it is still exploring options for getting HS2 services to Leeds.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The research, which involved interviews with focus groups, shows residents are deeply cynical about plans for major infrastructure projects, as many feel the city is not being prioritised by Ministers.

An early representation of what the new HS2 trains could look like. (Photo credit: HS2/PA Wire)An early representation of what the new HS2 trains could look like. (Photo credit: HS2/PA Wire)
An early representation of what the new HS2 trains could look like. (Photo credit: HS2/PA Wire)

One participant complained about “over-promising and under-delivery”, while another said it was “a kick in the teeth for the North when they said HS2 wouldn’t reach Leeds” but it “wasn’t surprising”.

The majority of participants said they rely on cars as their primary mode of transport, as public transport is too unreliable, and many agreed there is a “stark difference” between rail services in the north and those in the south.

A High Speed Rail Group spokesman said: “The way to get HS2 back on track is for politicians to recognise HS2 for what it is: a vital increase in green transport network capacity for the century ahead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This research sends a clear message that without significant investment in transport across the North, and in high speed rail, those in the region expect they will continue to fall further behind the rest of the UK, and Europe.

“High speed rail is one of the best ways to drive meaningful economic growth in the North.”

The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, published in 2021, stated that the eastern leg of the high-speed rail line will stop at East Midlands Parkway and trains will then run on an existing line to Sheffield.

But last month, the DfT launched a study that will look to establish “the most effective way” to run HS2 trains to Leeds.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said it will explore several different options, including the original plan to build HS2 in full.

The study will look at proposals to run services from Manchester to Leeds, or from Sheffield to Leeds, by upgrading existing lines.

However, it comes amid growing concerns about the cost of HS2, which is expected to reach £71bn even if services never reach West Yorkshire.