PLANS to link London and West Yorkshire with a high speed rail link have been welcomed by a Huddersfield business body.
The Government has announced its backing for a £30bn network for 250mph trains running between London and Scotland.
The first part of the route will run from Euston in London to Birmingham – reducing journey times between those cities to between 30 and 50 minutes.
Work on that section would start in 2017 and cost £15.8bn to £17.4bn.
From Birmingham, two high speed (HSR) lines will run either side of the Pennines – to Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Journey times between London and Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield would come down from about 2hrs 10mins now to 75mins when the network is in place. London to Glasgow and Edinburgh journey times would be reduced to just three and a half hours.
Transport minister Lord Adonis said the HSR network would create about 10,000 jobs – while the £30bn cost would be phased over more than a decade after the start of construction in 2017.
The plans will go for public consultation.
Steven Leigh, head of policy and representation at the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said he was “very pleased by the announcement.
He said: “After a lot of lobbying by the regional chambers of commerce and many other people, this is very significant for Yorkshire and the north-east.
“Economically, it will put us on a level with Manchester and Liverpool, where there has been massive investment in rail services.
“There was a danger that the HSR would not come as far north as West Yorkshire, which would have been economically disastrous.”
Rosie Winterton, Minister for Yorkshire, said she was “extremely pleased” by the announcement, saying the HSR would have “huge benefits” for the region.
She added: “This is a long-term project and Lord Adonis has asked me to help co-ordinate the Yorkshire and Humber response to the consultation, which I very much hope will receive support from across the region to maximise the benefits to our regional economy.”