Combined Authority Transport Cllr Keith Wakefield has welcomed Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s inclusion of Bradford among the cities to be connected by the planned Northern Powerhouse Rail project.
Mr Grayling said that Northern Powerhouse Rail would provide faster and more frequent journeys between the Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Hull and York and said it was a priority scheme for Transport for the North.
Cllr Wakefield said, “A Northern Powerhouse Rail route providing vastly improved links between Leeds, Bradford, York and Manchester, integrating with HS2 at a Leeds Transport Hub is key to the Combined Authority’s transport plans.
“These new routes along with the much-needed upgrade and electrification of existing City Region rail lines including the trans-Pennine route via Huddersfield and Dewsbury , along the Calder Valley and between Leeds and Harrogate will be a catalyst for maximising the growth, employment and education benefits of high-quality integrated transport links across the City Region.”
Bradford Council’s leader Susan Hinchcliffe and Chief Executive Kersten England and representatives from Bradford Chamber of Commerce met with Mr Grayling last week ahead of his speech to the Leeds Chamber Annual Dinner in Leeds.
Cllr Hinchcliffe described the meeting with the Transport Secretary as ‘encouraging’ said she ‘welcomed’ his recognition of Bradford’s compelling case to be on the Northern Powerhouse Rail route.
She said: “We will not let up in making our case for NPR, which is now gathering strong momentum.
“I’m grateful for the support of business leaders, and particularly the Chamber, as well as politicians and neighbouring authorities in West Yorkshire, it’s a real team effort.
“Bradford has the youngest population in the UK, it’s perfectly placed at the heart of the North and it is ripe with potential.
"We are calling on the Government to work with us by delivering the investment Bradford needs so that people in our district can benefit from better transport and job opportunities while fuelling economic growth here and in the wider region.
“For the North of England to be successful, Bradford needs to be successful.”
Andy Caton, Bradford Chamber of Commerce president said: “The meeting was an opportunity to try to ensure a meeting of minds and make sure the minister fully understands the business and economic case for rooting the line through Bradford and stopping in the city too.
“We would be failing in our duty if we had not taken this opportunity to speak to the Transport Secretary face-to-face and keep hammering home the message that Bradford should be included.
He added: “We need to keep banging the drum for Bradford on this.”
Find out more about Northern Powerhouse Rail on the Transport for the North website (opens in new tab).