Nearly half of all trains to Leeds are delayed or cancelled

Nearly half of all trains to Leeds are either delayed or cancelled, according to a recent study.

A total of 42 per cent of all services fail to reach the city’s central station on time, data from On Time Trains suggests. The figure was cited in a Leeds City Council report, as the authority’s leading Conservative took a swipe at the government over the cancellation of HS2.

Although HS2’s eastern leg linking Birmingham to Leeds was officially pulled in 2021, a long-awaited study looking at how high-speed trains could still reach Leeds finally started this summer.

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That was torpedoed, however, by Rishi Sunak’s announcement earlier this month that the scheme was to be scrapped altogether, barring the line linking Birmingham and London. The government insists the money saved from the cancellation will be ploughed into upgrading the existing transport infrastructure across the north.

A Northern train at Guiseley StationA Northern train at Guiseley Station
A Northern train at Guiseley Station

The leader of Leeds’ Conservative group, Alan Lamb, was critical of his party for its handling of the situation.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday (Oct 18), he said: “It would be easy to sit here, gloss over it and not say anything at all, but that would be remiss of me. It’s not a happy situation. We’re not good at national infrastructure in this country.

“I can understand, given how costs have spiralled out of control with HS2, why the decision has been taken, but it’s not a glorious way of getting here from the government I have to say.”

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Coun Lamb said that “governments of all colours” had failed to deliver good transport infrastructure for the north, citing the last Labour administration’s refusal to back a tram system for Leeds in the 2000s.

He added: “The death knell of HS2 was right at the start when the selling point was that you were going to be able to get to London 20 minutes quicker. What it was actually always about was increasing capacity and getting freight off the roads and onto the railways and that’s the big strategic picture that’s been missed and overlooked.

“But that’s where we are and it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to go back on it, or change this decision.”

Among the proposals being pushed now by the government for spending the HS2 money is the electrification of the railway line between Leeds and Sheffield. It’s suggested this would create four times more capacity on the network than at present.

Faster trains between Leeds and Hull, and more of them, are also envisaged, while all six northern city regions will receive 75 per cent more funding than they do now to improve connectivity.