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Network Rail report identifies HS2 benefits for rail across Leeds & Sheffield City Regions

Towns and cities across the Leeds City Region would benefit from new and improved train services.

Towns and cities across the Leeds City Region would benefit from new and improved train services on the existing rail network as a result of the extra capacity that HS2 would free up says a Network Rail report published this week.

Network Rail's report says over 100 towns and cities on the UK’s existing railway lines could benefit from quicker, more frequent journeys and better connections when HS2 is complete and sets out proposals to integrate with the national rail network.

“We’ve always argued HS2 should be about bringing benefits across the whole of West Yorkshire and this Network Rail report echoes much of what we have been saying," said Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis. "However t’s vital the existing local rail network is improved to ensure every possible benefit can be fully delivered across the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions and we need to secure additional investment in our existing road and rail networks to ensure that can happen.”

Alison Munro, Chief Executive of HS2 said "We welcome this study and support its conclusions. By taking an integrated approach, HS2 will free up capacity across the rail network, connecting people to jobs and goods to markets. Up to 100 towns and cities across the UK could get better journeys, extending the benefits of HS2 way beyond the line itself. Projects like the Northern Hub will kick-start the process and bring significant near term advantages for rail users but only HS2 can deliver the step change in capacity the country needs for the longer term."

Paul Plummer, Network Rail group strategy director, said: “HS2 provides an opportunity to fundamentally reshape our railway in a way that incremental improvements simply cannot deliver. It is a chance to stop playing catch-up on capacity and instead look at how the rail network could deliver a step-change improvement towards key national goals – economic growth, reduced carbon emissions and an improved quality of life for communities and individual passengers.

“This study is part of a wider programme that looks at how the high speed and existing lines might work together as a single network. We will continue to work with local authorities and other stakeholders to understand how we can make best use of HS2 and welcome feedback on this initial study in advance of more detailed assessments of the benefits.”