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Home > The Economic Case for High Speed Rail to Leeds City Region and Sheffield City Region





The Economic Case for High Speed Rail to Leeds City Region and Sheffield City Region



South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Metro have welcomed new research which highlights the economic benefits Yorkshire would gain by being connected to a high-speed rail network.

Research already carried out by ARUP and Volterra had shown that a ‘Y-shaped’ network travelling from London to Birmingham, where it would split with one arm of the ‘Y’ heading to Yorkshire, could provide between £1.5bn and £3bn of productivity benefits to the economy, in addition to transport benefits of around £29bn.

This latest report on High Speed Rail, written on behalf of Sheffield and Leeds City Regions, demonstrates the benefits of the proposed Y shaped network and outlines the reasons for Government support. South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (SYITA) and Sheffield City Region are currently debating the findings of this report prior to agreeing the final version.

Click here to read the full report.

Three million jobs

Their new research estimates that linking the Sheffield City Region the Leeds City Region, and the “Three Cities” of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester as part of a national high speed rail network would connect an area of 6.7 million people and 3 million jobs. Onward connections to the Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear City Regions would provide access to a further 2.2 million people and 0.9 million jobs.
This route to the East of the Pennines would deliver an estimated £60 billion in standard transport benefits and a further £2.3 billion of productivity benefits. Its Benefit to Cost Ratio would be 5.61, compared with 2.58 for the route to Manchester.

In addition, a direct route to the Leeds City Region, via the East Midlands and Sheffield City Region, would have greater economic benefits than the alternative option of a less direct route to Leeds via Manchester. It would have a higher Benefit to Cost Ratio of 2.46 compared to only 1.88 for the less direct route via Manchester, deliver far greater productivity benefits - £2.3 billion compared to £0.4 billion - and result in far faster journey times to Leeds, York and the North East.

Transforming the national economy

“We also agree that high-speed rail should serve city centre stations – this will maximise the economic benefits due to the proximity of high value jobs. City centres are already public transport hubs and therefore would help spread the benefits of high speed rail more widely across the city regions. They would also act as a focus for regeneration and development."

Substantial benefits at modest costs

The latest research also highlights the need to make improvements to existing rail routes in the short-medium term. Delivery of high speed rail to the north will be a long-term (20-30 year) project, but existing proposals to upgrade and electrify the Midland Main Line, East Coast Main Line, trans-Pennine and Leeds-Sheffield links can deliver substantial benefits, in some cases at modest costs.

Improvements to existing routes, and to local and regional rail routes and services, will improve access to high speed stations, helping exploit the benefits of high speed rail in providing capacity relief on existing lines.