LEEDS cannot afford to wait for the arrival of HS2 to have a better railway station, council leader Judith Blake has warned.
The authority is pressing for ambitious plans to improve the station set out by Network Rail to be backed with Government funding.
A report published last week recommended Leeds station should undergo a massive transformation to accommodate new high speed rail lines as part of the HS2 project.
But HS2 is not due to arrive in Leeds until 2033 and the city council wants to see faster progress on existing proposals to overhaul the station.
Coun Blake said: “The difference in experience of getting on the train at King’s Cross and getting off at Leeds couldn’t be more stark.
“The announcement last week has given us confidence that HS2 is going to happen and a single integrated station is the model to move forward on.
“We want to anticipate that by bringing the current station up to what passengers expect in the 21st Century.”
Network Rail set out proposals earlier this year for a £100 million package of improvements that would see the creation of a three storey entrance created, the installation of a new mezzanine floor and an opaque roof.
Coun Blake said the station gave visitors their first impression of the city and wider area.
“What people want is a place to meet people, that has conferencing facilities, possibly a hotel. That’s what people are looking for.
“The current station is woeful, it just doesn’t reflect the fact it is the busiest station ion the North and with the proposals for HS2 we are expecting a 100 per cent increase in passengers passing through.”
The station’s new south entrance is expected to open within weeks.