HS3 link to region vital to truly benefit north


South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has welcomed proposals published today by Sir David Higgins, Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, that will see journey times between northern cities significantly reduced, thereby assisting the northern economy with transformational investment in transport.

Sir David's comments and recommendations are contained in his second report on the future of HS2 - ‘Rebalancing Britain: from HS2 towards a national transport strategy’. It is the first report to look at new infrastructure across the North of England, to give the northern economy the means to attract investment and to expand the UK’s presence in global markets.

The report recommends the development of a high-speed TransNorth rail link, together with the creation of a ‘Transport for the North’ group led by the combined authorities of Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool - to stimulate local economies by developing rail and road systems via new transport strategies.

Rail isn’t the only focus; Sir David Higgins recognises the recent work undertaken by the northern city regions called ‘One North’, whose proposals suggest that improvements are also required to the strategic road network, which will complement rail investment and provide a robust and integrated transport network for decades to come.

The HS2 station in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) will form part of the eastern route of the Y-network that will operate between Birmingham and Leeds, via the East Midlands and SCR.

SYPTE’s Interim Director of Strategy, Julie Hurley, said: “We warmly welcome Sir David’s recognition of the support from the SCR for HS2 and the ongoing confidence in SCR’s suitability for a HS2 station location.

“However, careful consideration needs to be given to how to best derive benefits for the SCR as well as neighbouring regions on the HS2 route. It is only by making sure the HS2 network is well connected to the whole transport network that the benefits of the new line will be maximised.

“Improving connections between the East and West is vital. But investment in the TransNorth HS3 line must not be only Leeds and Manchester focused and serious consideration must be given to connecting Sheffield to Manchester and Leeds. Sir David’s proposed Transport for the North powerhouse will only be realised if a connection to SCR is included within the plans.

“Linking the SCR HS2 station to the TransNorth line will bring towns and cities closer together in order to boost skills, enable inter-city employment, encourage regional investment and provide security for the North.”

Sir David Higgins’ report has been submitted to Government and the final decision on the recommendations will be made by ministers. It is expected that the detailed plans for Phase Two will be published in 2015.

For more information visit hs2.org.uk