A bird's-eye view of Leeds and surrounding areas.

HS2 in Leeds scrapped in favour of Oyster cards and quicker trains to Manchester

The Prime Minister announced the changes this morning but the full extent of the Northern Powerhouse rail that will replace HS2 in Leeds will be announced later today.

The Prime Minister has announced that the original Leeds leg of HS2 has been scrapped in favour of improving existing rail services.

Despite an offering of £96 billion, the rail improvement programme is expected to transform public transport rather than bring high speed rail infrastructure (HS2) to Leeds.

The plans were announced this morning online, but are said to be confirmed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps later on today.

HS2 is expected to be fully completed by the late 2030s. / Image: HS2 Ltd

HS2 would have originally connected Leeds with London, as well as Birmingham and Manchester, but it is the eastern leg of the HS2 plans that are now set to be scrapped in favour of improving existing services.

Outlining the new plans, the Prime Minister announced that the Northern Powerhouse Rail, the new rail improvement programme, will cut the journey from Leeds to Manchester to just 33 minutes and double train capacities.

Boris Johnson also announced that HS2 will be a fixture in Sheffield, but not necessarily in Leeds.

The journey from Sheffield to London is expected to take 1 hour 27 minutes under the new plans and the government will “look at how to get HS2 to Leeds too, with a new study on the best way to make it happen”.

Under the new proposed rail scheme, the journey from Leeds to Bradford will be cut to 12 minutes and improvements will be made to Wakefield and Doncaster lines on an upgraded East Coast Main Line.

The Trans-Pennine Main Line will also be expanded, along with the Midland Main Line, by the early 2030s.

Ending the Prime Minister’s speech was a promise for London-style Oyster cards and a statement to put tram network rumours to rest:

“By later this decade, Leeds will no longer be the largest city in Europe without a metro because we today commit to build West Yorkshire Mass Transit, and to the funding needed to see it through.

And even sooner than that, we’ll install London-style contactless ticketing on Yorkshire’s commuter network.”

The Prime Minister arrived at Kings Cross station this morning to catch a train to the North of England as part of his Integrated Rail Plan tour. / Image: Andrew Parsons

The full announcements of these plans will be unveiled over the coming days, though most of the information is expected to be covered by the Transport Secretary’s announcement later today.

Feature Image– Andrew Parsons

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