Leeds rail network sees completion of £161m sustainable expansion
Rail minister Wendy Morton has hailed the completed Leeds Station upgrades as a “major milestone” in delivering a modern, fully connected transport hub..
Visiting Leeds Station to see the competition of £161m of upgrade works, the minister will meet with former apprentices and senior staff of Network Rail responsible for delivering key upgrades to the Transpennine Route.
The visit follows the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), a £96bn programme of investment targeted at transforming rail connections across the North and Midlands.
Wendy said: “Leeds station is a major hub right at the heart of the North, not only a gateway to one of the UK’s most vibrant and lively cities but a vital transport link enabling people from all over the country to travel for work, pleasure and connect with friends and family.
“These upgrades are a huge milestone making these journeys even easier, providing passengers with more seats, more services and more punctual journeys all while building upon our unprecedented Integrated Rail Plan.”
Improvements enabled by the IRP include full electrification to York, and of the Calder Valley line between Bradford and Leeds, cutting journey times to as little as 12 minutes.
Plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail will also see services reaching Manchester from Leeds in 33 minutes, a saving of 22 minutes compared to today, and passengers will reach Birmingham 29 minutes faster than at present.
The IRP has also initiated work on the West Yorkshire Mass Transit System, thus “righting the historic wrong” that Leeds is the largest city in Western Europe without a mass transit network, and £100m of development funding is focused on determining the best way to bring HS2 services to Leeds.
Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is an important milestone in our continued ambitions to modernise Leeds’ rail connections to make them fit to support what is one of the fastest-growing economies with the busiest railway station in the north of the UK.
Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, added: “Expanding and improving the rail network will be key to reducing carbon emissions and helping cities to thrive. The upgrades at Leeds station will enable more people to travel by rail and make journeys more reliable, an important step towards a greener transport future.”
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