The final route of the Manchester and Leeds arms of the HS2 high-speed railway will be announced later today.
And it may not come through our part of West Yorkshire, as Government ministers suggested in November last year that the line should serve the existing Sheffield city centre station, after proposals to run trains to the Meadowhall shopping centre were shelved.
The Department for Transport released a study claiming HS2 could help to double the number of seats available to passengers suffering from overcrowded and infrequent trains in key northern towns and cities.
By freeing up space on existing lines there could be twice as many seats on rush hour services from Manchester Piccadilly towards Stoke, Crewe and the South, and from Leeds towards Wakefield, according to the report.
HS2 may also enable new direct trains from London to destinations such as Bolton, Rochdale and Grimsby, and from Manchester to Derby, the research found.
No decisions have been made on how extra capacity on existing lines will be utilised.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government will ensure communities affected by the railway receive “appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”
He said: “This is a hugely important step in the construction of Britain’s new railway and underlines this Government’s determination to deliver an economy that works for all.
“HS2 will deliver vital links between some of our country’s biggest cities, helping to drive economic growth and productivity in the North and Midlands.
“As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help re-balance our economy.
“We will now get on with building the railway, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”
In February, Parliament granted powers to build the first phase of the line, which will see trains travel at high speed between London and Birmingham before running on from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.
Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018/19.
Mr Grayling will soon publish a bill to deliver Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe, with services expected to begin in 2027.
Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds, is due to open in 2033.