High-speed rail between Leeds and Sheffield is key to the region’s future – according to the Yorkshire Post

Should there be a high speed rail link between Leeds and Sheffield?

This, for the record, was the ‘fig leaf’ offered to the region last November by the London government when its £96billion integrated rail plan effectively scrapped the eastern part of HS2 and downgraded Northern Powerhouse Rail.

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But that shouldn’t even be necessary when the Department for Transport already has more civil servants, many of them engineers, earning more than £200,000 than any other department in Whitehall – and when the case for a new high-speed link between West and Yorkshire is already proven.

The eastern leg of HS2 between Sheffield and Leeds has been delayed.

The facts speak for themselves. When Crossrail opens soon, it will take just over 20 minutes by train from Reading to nearby London – a distance of around 30 miles. Services will be every five minutes.

By contrast, the fastest journey time between Sheffield and Leeds – a comparative distance – is 40 minutes and the average journey is one hour and six minutes.

Such a state of affairs would not be tolerated by ministers – or commuters – in London and the home counties, so why should the North continue to accept the last resort, and be palmed off like this, when confidence in government leveling policy is already limited?

This region must now use its collective strength and exert maximum pressure on ministers to reverse this absurd and short-sighted decision if it is not already too late.

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Jose P. Rogers