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Rail Journey Times: Bradford to Leeds

Volume 714: debated on Thursday 19 May 2022

As part of the integrated rail plan, the Government will be upgrading the Calder Valley line between Bradford Interchange and Leeds to reduce journey times from about 20 minutes today to as low as 12 minutes.

Last year, the Government scrapped Northern Powerhouse Rail, which would have run from Manchester to Leeds, through Bradford, stating that it was too expensive. At the same time, they ignored the plans set out by the Mayor of Greater Manchester to look at serious alternative funding models. Those same models got the £19 billion Crossrail project built for London. So can the Minister tell me why something that is good in the capital is apparently too good for places such as Bradford? Has he even considered the serious alternative proposals set out by the Mayor of Greater Manchester?

Let me gently correct the hon. Gentleman: last year, we set out our integrated rail plan, which is a £96 billion investment in the railways of the midlands and the north. It is the biggest ever investment by any Government in the railways of this country, and that is five times as much money as was spent on Crossrail. We are committed to delivering improvements across the north of England to more places sooner than under previous plans, and I encourage him to get behind the plans. I am more than happy to meet anyone, including Transport for the North and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and I meet the hon. Gentleman’s colleagues from Bradford regularly to talk about other options. The Government have said that we will take an adaptive approach, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we get this right, but £96 billion is a huge investment in our railways.