High Speed Rail

High speed rail – both north-south and east-west – continues to be a priority for Chamber lobbying activities.  A modern, efficient and inter-connected rail network is crucial to forming part of the country’s transport and infrastructure system that supports business, commuters and local communities across the North of England.

The Chamber supports both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and has been liaising with other stakeholders and lobbying decision-makers to put forward a strong case to help realise these important schemes.  We are working with organisations including Transport for the North, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and other Northern Chambers of Commerce to bring HS2 to Leeds and NPR to Bradford.

The Chamber policy team supports a dedicated transport group, made up of specialist and knowledgeable business representatives, currently chaired by Arup’s Alistair Gordon.  The group meets regularly to discuss issues affecting business, and how to best influence policy-making in this area.

For more information on Chamber activity on high speed rail or the Chamber transport committee, email PolicyRepresentation@wnychamber.co.uk


HS2 is proposed to be built in two phases, with the Parliamentary Bill for phase 1 from London to Birmingham currently passing through the House of Lords.

Phase two will see HS2 travel onwards from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, arriving in approximately 2033.

Leeds HS2 station

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber supports the proposals to develop new high speed rail infrastructure across the UK. Growth in rail passenger numbers has been one of the nation’s success stories and is forecast to continue over the coming decades. The need for increased capacity cannot be overstated as existing infrastructure will not be sufficient to accommodate expected increases in passenger numbers. Furthermore if we are to achieve the long term goal to move more freight off roads and to rail then we need to build extra capacity.

HS2 not only brings additional capacity but it increases and improves connectivity between the major urban centres in the north and midlands, in turn widening the available labour pool for employers.

So why is Leeds HS2 Station so important?

  • HS2 needs to be built as part of the wider rail network
  • Connectivity between existing and high speed trains should be seamless
  • Passenger growth at the existing Leeds station is forecast to double between now and 2045
  • Existing Leeds station is operating at maximum capacity
  • Existing Leeds station has too few through lines resulting in services which terminate
  • Future plans to develop HS3 providing improved east-west connectivity through Leeds

What is the Chamber’s position?

If the entire city region is to benefit from investment in high speed rail then this is the opportunity to create a significant transport hub which solves capacity constraints at the existing station, facilitates and future proofs anticipated growth on the classic network and connects proposed high speed services seamlessly.

Leeds sits at a crossroads with historic trade routes heading north-south and east-west. Existing rail networks converge on the city and it is home to a significant number of employers. However Leeds is part of a much larger economic area with symbiotic relationships across the city region.

In July 2015, the Chamber published a report ‘Rethinking Leeds Station’ which sets out our aspirations

The Yorkshire Hub

In November 2015, HS2 published their recommended option for Leeds Station which embraced many of the principles set out in the Chamber’s ‘Rethinking’ report. The full report can be read here The Yorkshire Hub


HS3 is proposed to deliver high speed rail connectivity across the north of England, stretching from Liverpool via Manchester and Leeds to Hull and Newcastle and is also known as Northern Powerhouse Rail.