Much has been made of the new high speed rail networks due to stretch across the UK from 2026. Connecting some of the UK’s biggest cities in the form of London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, the East Midlands and Leeds, it’s been nothing if not controversial.
Originally conceived in 2009, High Speed Two (HS2) would connect London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. Later, it would be announced that the link would be split into two phases; phase one connecting London to the West Midlands by 2026 and phrase two connecting Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester by 2033.
Pushback has come from a number of sources, including those who don’t want to see a noisy rail link installed near their homes. Indeed, many more have questioned the value of such a prospect, which is said may cost up to £80 billion by the time it’s finished.
With that said, however, high speed rail could revolutionise those cities which it visits. In this guide, we’ll be looking at what HS3 could mean for Leeds.
- An unemployment reduction.
Research by the property group JLL found that unemployment within Leeds could fall by an astonishing 23% by 2030 thanks to the opportunities that high speed rail would offer the city. That would mean fewer people on unemployment benefit, more spending in the city and more tax for the council. Indeed, a reduction of that size would further cement Leeds’ growing reputation as economic hot-spot in the North.
- Drastically cut commuting time.
Nobody really likes commuting to work, but with HS3, we would see a steep reduction in travel times between the hub cities. At present, a train between Leeds and Manchester takes around 50 minutes at its very quickest, but with HS3 that same train would take less than 30 minutes, and so would a train to Sheffield. Trips to Hull would take just 45 minutes, a journey that can take 1 and three quarter hours at the moment.
Details released by the Department of Transport show that the ‘Transnorth’ line would have sections capable of train speeds up to 140mph.
- Increased investment.
Fast rail links would lead to businesses considering Leeds a much more attractive prospect. It’s not as though Leeds currently struggles in that regard, but with high speed links to other economic hubs, it would become much easier for businesses to found a second headquarters in Leeds and travel to and from for meetings.
We’ve already seen how the city has grown in response to this bright future with the planned changes to Leeds train station (currently the busiest station outside of London) and the construction of two new world class shopping destinations in the city centre.
It’s not all business, however, because HS3 would open up the door to hundreds of thousands of new tourists each year. At present, the city’s tourism is supports over 25,000 jobs and is worth multiple millions to the local economy. With fast rail links, it would mean tourists could visit more than one city in a day, and as such Leeds could see a huge spike in the numbers of people visiting our fine city.
Walsh Taylor, Leeds Company Liquidations