Leeds to get new HS2 high-speed rail station

Media caption,
The new planned station will be close to the existing train station

The second phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network will stop at a new city centre station in Leeds, it has been revealed.

The preferred route of phase two running northwards from Birmingham will go to the new station on the south bank of the River Aire in the city centre.

Speeds of up to 250mph on HS2 will reduce a Birmingham to Leeds journey from two hours to 57 minutes.

Council leader Keith Wakefield said the announcement was "excellent news".

Mr Wakefield said: "We have lobbied long and hard for a high-speed rail link to Leeds.

"It will strengthen Leeds' position as the northern transport hub and unlock major investment, jobs opportunities and connectivity to the rest of the country."

'Train for the rich'

The preferred route would take high-speed trains through Cold Hiendley, Woodlesford and Hunslet before reaching the new station in Leeds.

The station would be joined to the existing city centre railway station via a pedestrian link, possibly with moving walkways to make the transfer quicker.

Journey times to London would be cut from two hours and 12 minutes to 82 minutes.

A final route for phase two is expected to be chosen by the end of 2014.

Construction on the Y-shaped extension could start in the middle of the next decade, with the line open by 2032-33.

Chancellor George Osborne said it was "the engine for growth in the north and the midlands of this country".

Trevor Wilson, who lives in the West Yorkshire village of Cold Hiendley, said he thought it would "ruin the area".

He said: "I was quite shocked. It's supposed to be natural beauty around here, it's green belt, it's everything you could wish for, and it certainly won't enhance the village at all.

"We'll be looking out onto railway banking by the sounds of it."

More than 70 groups oppose HS2. StopHS2 has argued that England's north and Midlands will lose out to London, rather than benefit, and that projections do not take into account competition from conventional rail.

StopHS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said "it's basically a train for the rich that everyone else is not only going to have to pay for the construction of but also have to subsidise throughout its lifetime as well".

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