South Yorkshire on Track to a High Speed Future
South Yorkshire remains on track to join the High Speed Rail
The UK Government has announced that it is to continue with
its predecessor’s intention to build high speed beyond London to
the West Midlands, and eventually to both Manchester and
Yorkshire. But crucially this high speed network is to be a
Y-shaped one, which takes in South Yorkshire, rather than a
reverse S-shaped network, which would have by-passed it.
The Y-shaped network will see High Speed 2, the name given to
the high speed line beyond London, run to Birmingham, the UK’s
second largest city, before branching into two forks just to the
north, with one line heading to Manchester, and the other
branching to the East Midlands and South Yorkshire and onto
Leeds in West Yorkshire. The high speed track to Leeds will then
link up with the existing East Coast Main Line just south of York.
The high speed line will also free up capacity on the Midland
Main Line from Sheffield to London and the East Coast Main
Line from Edinburgh, through Doncaster, to London.
Consultation on the plans is due to begin next year, but building
work is not expected to begin until at least 2015.
Good transport links are inextricably linked with economic growth
and so a High Speed Rail link to Yorkshire will open up the county
to greater economic opportunities. The country will effectively shrink,
unlocking possibilities in a way that the arrival of rail back in the
19th Century or the building of the motorways in the 20th Century did.
As the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond told the Conservative
Conference in September, it means a businessman could leave
his house in Leeds at 7.30am for a meeting in London at 9am.
A report by consultancy Arups, commissioned by South
Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and West Yorkshire
Passenger Transport Executive, has already put the long-term
benefits of a high-speed rail link serving Sheffield and Leeds city
regions as high as £3 billion.That would mean around £34 million of additional business benefits each year and thousands
of additional jobs too.
David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: “It is wonderful
news that South and West Yorkshire are to be included in the
extended high speed network beyond the capital. “We have
been making our argument very strongly that the combined
economies of South and West Yorkshire and the East Midlands
make up a big part of the wealth generated in England so it is
vital that they continue to be competitive in the decades to
come. The high speed line through South Yorkshire will ensure
that we retain that competitiveness.”
Updated : December 27, 2010