WEB POLL: High speed rail

A map of phase one and phase two of the proposed HS2 high-speed rail project.
A map of phase one and phase two of the proposed HS2 high-speed rail project.

The route of the second phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network will reach Leeds and Church Fenton, it was announced in January.

Harrogate’s MP Andrew Jones welcomed the news, saying our district will benefit from better links with London.

He said: “I welcome the Government’s announcement that the second phase of high speed rail is coming to Leeds.

“Here in Harrogate and Knaresborough, we will see the benefits of the economic growth that will flow from this investment.

He added: “We also need to see local transport plans and investment reflect the arrival of HS2.”

But Harrogate businessman and chairman of the town’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce Brian Dunsby does not agree, saying we need better local rail services more than the high-speed link from Leeds to London.

Speaking after the announcement in late January, Mr Dunsby said: “We welcome government’s plan to invest heavily in railways, however the electrification of the Leeds- Harrogate line is far more important than the HS2 and needs to be addressed soon.

“We need IEP (Inter-city express programme) linking Harrogate and York every 30 minutes and Harrogate and Leeds every 15 minutes, without that the HS2 will only benefit Leeds city centre.”

The HS2 line north from Longon will split after Birmingham with one route going onwards to Manchester and Manchester Airport with the second route going to Leeds and Church Fenton. It will reach speeds of up to 225mph reducing the journey time from Leeds to Birmingham from one hour 58 minutes to 57 minutes and from Leeds to London from 2 hours 12 minutes to one hour and 22 minutes.

It will extend beyond the centre of Leeds, stopping several miles short of York at Church Fenton, where it will connect with the East Coast main line, slashing journey times between York and London to just one hour 23 minutes.

What do you think? Will our district benefit from the high-speed rail links to Leeds and Church Fenton? Answer our web poll, right, or comment below.