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Government funds Network Rail's £560m Northern Hub programme,
for delivery between 2014 and 2019, Yorkshire could miss out on
huge economic benefits identified in a new rail study.
Commissioned jointly by Metro, South Yorkshire Passenger
Transport Executive and Leeds City Region, the Yorkshire Rail
Network Study highlights up to £12bn of vital economic
benefits could be unlocked through measures to improve Yorkshire's
rail connectivity. These benefits would result from quicker
journeys and improved business links, better commuter services, and
more capacity for freight.
"Our study provides backing for rail network improvements that
would contribute to Yorkshire's economic growth, and we want to
work with the Department for Transport and the rail industry to
develop a comprehensive long term investment plan for the
Leeds/Sheffield areas so that the maximum economic benefits are
realised," said Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis.
If the decision is made to back the report, over the next two
weeks the West and South Yorkshire ITAs will be making it clear
that they want full consideration given to its contents by Network
Rail as it plans projects and spending for its next five-year
programme of work, starting in 2014.
South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority Chairman Cllr
Mick Jameson said, "The report before the ITA suggests that faster
trains between Sheffield and Leeds are badly needed and these will
require investment at both Leeds and Sheffield stations. We need to
change the platform layouts and make them longer to enable both
passenger and freight growth. Major signalling works are already
planned at Sheffield station in the next few years, so this
presents an ideal opportunity. Alongside the track and signalling
improvements, we also want to see investment in train stock as
He went on to say: "Schemes to alleviate local pinch-points,
improve infrastructure and make possible the standardisation of
rolling stock will mean a step-change in local and regional train
services, which will attract even greater numbers of passengers,
relieving congestion on local roads and growth in our economy."
Leeds City Council Leader Cllr Keith Wakefield said, "The
Chancellor's recent funding announcements for part of the proposed
Northern Hub scheme and for the electrification of the
trans-Pennine route between Manchester and York are extremely
welcome but are only part of the story.
"Network Rail's £560m Northern Hub project is forecast to
deliver £4.2bn worth of economic benefits including up to
"We are therefore asking for the Government to commit to the
completion of the Northern Hub project in full when they announce
their rail plans for the next 5 years in the summer. We also need
to begin to look ahead beyond the Northern Hub as our study shows
that there are many more benefits to be had through investing in
"It is not unreasonable to expect two major cities such as Leeds
and Sheffield to be linked by four trains an hour and for journeys
between the two cities, which are less than 40 miles apart, to be
significantly quicker than the hour it can currently take," said
The Yorkshire Rail Network Study will be
considered by members of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport
Authority on Friday 24 February, while members of the South
Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority will view the report at
their meeting on Thursday 1 March.
By backing the report, the West and South Yorkshire ITAs will be
making it clear that they expect Government and the Rail Industry
to give full consideration to the potential benefits as they plan
projects and spending for the next five-year programme of work
starting in 2014, and beyond.
Read the Yorkshire network Rail Study
draft Executive Summary (pdf : 396k)