HS2 chief to oversee rail station plan for Leeds

Chancellor George Osborne.
Chancellor George Osborne.
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Chancellor George Osborne laid out plans to make sure Leeds is ready for high speed rail services including a major redevelopment of the city’s station during a visit to the city today.

Sir David Higgins, the man in charge of delivering the HS2 high speed line from London to Leeds, has been asked to present early proposals to the Government by the autumn.

A report from Sir David last year warned that the existing Leeds station will reach full capacity within the next 15 years.

There are existing proposals for HS2 services to serve a second station sited on land near Bridgewater Place but critics have questioned how passengers will connect to trains running from the existing station.

Momentum is also growing behind plans for HS3 - a transpennine high speed link to Manchester - raising further questions over the future of the best way to manage trains in and out of Leeds.

Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “We have lobbied very hard to make sure Leeds station is the best in the North and it matches our ambition to make Leeds the best city in the country.

“We want it to be a centrepiece of the city centre and we are pleased our lobbying has been listened to.”

The YEP understands that engineers remain sceptical that all high speed and local services could be accommodated in a single station.

But there are hopes Sir David will come up with proposals that will better connect the existing station and the proposed second terminus.

Mr Osborne said: “HS2, and now the planned HS3 across the pennines, will revolutionise connections across the North of England. This in turn will deliver a major boost to the economies of our great Northern cities.

“And I want to make sure we seize every benefit from this once in a generation infrastructure project.

“We are going to do that right here in Leeds.”