High speed rail could be a boost

Confirmation of the route of phase two of the HS2 rail network has been welcomed as an economic boost for Calderdale that will help to bridge the north-south divide.

The £32 billion development is set to halve journey times from Leeds to Birmingham from two hours to just 57 minutes.

The trains will reach top speeds of 250mph and will mean it will take around 90 minutes to get from Leeds to London.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said: “Despite some of the negativity about the cost the high speed rail link will be an incredible economic boost for the Calder Valley.

“It will help to bridge the north-south divide. It’s currently ridiculous that a business in Paris can get to our capital quicker than a business in Calderdale.”

However, support for the new train lines - which are due for completion in 2032/2033 - has not been unanimous with criticism over the cost and timescale involved.

Halifax MP Linda Riordan was also critical of the existing train network.

She said: “As much as I welcome the investment in HS2 and the benefits it will bring for our region, the more immediate priority should be investing in new trains for the Calder Vale Line. We need to speed up journey times on the line through Halifax.

“There’s no point having high speed from London to Leeds, if we are going to neglect investment in provincial lines throughout West Yorkshire.”

The new line will see new stations built at Manchester Airport, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Toton.