Plans for a high-speed "HS3" rail link in the north of England have moved a step closer to reality, after a report from Sir David Higgins, the chairman of the HS2 scheme, backed the proposals. Sir David said better rail links in northern England were "desirable" and "possible" after being asked to look at ways of maximising the benefits of HS2. Journey times from Manchester to Leeds could be cut from 48 to 26 minutes. Keith Wakefield, the leader of Leeds City Council, said the investment would pay for itself. "We know a 20-minute reduction in journey times between Leeds and Manchester would be worth £6.7bn and nearly 30,000 jobs across the north of England," he said. The government says it will now produce a strategy looking at options, costs and a delivery timetable for HS3. The east-west improvements backed by Sir David would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
Published inThe Daily Telegraph,