West Yorkshire Mayor calling for details on future of rail service

The Mayor of West Yorkshire has called for further clarification from the Department for Transport following the release of further data in support of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 9:17 am
Tracy Brabin
Tracy Brabin

Published at the end of 2021 the IRP omitted the much-discussed HS2.

The eastern leg of HS2 would have seen a new high-speed rail line between Leeds and Manchester via central Bradford.

The omission was met with widespread disappointment and Mayor Tracy Brabin has now called for the technical data underpinning that decision to be published given the significant impact it will have for the region.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

West Yorkshire has strong ambitions for growth, and to achieve it we need a reliable and efficient transport system, both in the region and from our region to others – the IRP simply does not provide this,” she said.

“Of the £96bn committed to the Integrated Rail Plan, only around £7bn will be spent in West Yorkshire – and £6bn of this is on the TransPennine Route Upgrade, which has been promised for more than a decade.”

New evidence released by the DfT showed a lack of detail on future rail services and a lack of understanding of the wider economic benefits the full Northern Powerhouse Rail line and HS2 would bring to passengers and businesses in the region.

At this week’s Transport for the North board meeting the Mayor requested that evidence relating to the decision be submitted to next month’s transport select committee.

“I’m dismayed to see that the Government has only looked at the absolute cost of transport spending and not the wider social and economic benefits a high-quality integrated rail network would bring. What is ‘levelling up’ if it’s not about bettering the lives of our communities?” she said. “Cutting off West Yorkshire from the high-speed network isn’t just incredibly disappointing, it’s also incredibly short-sighted.”

Mayor Brabin has also requested clarification on plans with a deduction in stopping services to places like Dewsbury, Batley and Pudsey possible.

“We must not forget the hopes and aspirations of those who live in our towns and villages,” she added.

Discussed as a potential alternative to the HS2 train link is a mass transit scheme which would see Leeds finally awarded a tram line.

The Government is yet to elaborate further on these plans.