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Chairman Cllr James Lewis has welcomed the pledge made by Transport
Secretary Philip Hammond to the BBC's Look North that
high-speed rail links to Leeds and Manchester will be built at the
Mr Hammond told Look North correspondent Alan
Whitehouse that once the high-speed line had reached Birmingham,
'we will then build out the Manchester and the Leeds branches
"It's great news to hear this pledge from Philip Hammond,
because fears had been expressed that the western line to
Manchester might be built before the eastern one," said Cllr
"Having gained the support of the Transport Secretary, we now
need local businesses and individuals to go to the Yorkshire Needs High-Speed Rail website and show their
support for High-Speed 2 and the £2bn+ transformation it will
bring to our region before the Department for Transport's
consultation closes this Friday," warned Cllr Lewis.
"Because if the well-organised opponents of high-speed prevent
it reaching Birmingham, we're never going to feel the benefits in
West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region."
As well as delivering economic benefits, High-Speed Rail would
also bring much-needed extra capacity for the North's congested
rail networks. The transfer of a significant number of the journeys
currently made on the East Coast Main Line to the high-speed route
would free up the space in the timetable and on track for more,
fast, frequent commuter services, local trains and freight.
"Now that we have the Secretary of State's assurance that both
legs will be built at the same time, we'd like to see the plans for
the whole network brought forward so that the benefits can be felt
as quickly as possible," added Cllr Lewis.
Research by the Eastern Network Partnership,
which brings together the Leeds, Sheffield, Tyne & Wear, Tees
Valley, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire regions showed that the
benefit : cost ratio for the eastern arm of the high-speed network