Rishi Sunak has announced that he is officially scrapping the northern leg of the HS2 train line – and quietly announced that the leftover money will be used to build a tram network in Leeds.
Rumours had been swirling all week that the PM would announce the termination of the HS2 project, a train network that was supposed to be ‘the backbone of Britain’s transport network’.
Sure enough, he took to the stage in Manchester today to confirm in his keynote speech that HS2 would be scrapped north of Birmingham.
BUT in a surprise twist, Mr Sunak then announced details of a ‘Network North’ scheme that would improve the infrastructure between and around northern cities.
And that apparently includes a tram network around Leeds…
It’s been such a long-running promise that our city would once again have trams tooting around that it’s become a bit of a local joke (it even became an April Fool’s joke last year).
Leeds of course did have a transit system that ran across the city from 1871 – 1959, using a combination of horse-drawn, steam and electric trams over time.
However, due to the trams being deemed unaffordable by the City Council following the Second World War, they ultimately closed – and have been missed in the city ever since.
At present, Leeds is the largest city in Western Europe without a built-in transport system.
We’ve been promised a tram system before, with the most promising proposal, which would have served the inner city, both Universities and Headingley, scrapped in 2005 by the Transport Secretary after budget issues.
Rishi is now promising that Network North’s smaller transport projects will be a better option than HS2, which he described as ‘one delayed and over-budget project’.
And reaction to the news of a Leeds tram has been as you’d expect…
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