TRANSPORT Officials have expressed concern that new plans for HS2 could impact on the prospect of faster rail journeys between Leeds and Sheffield.
The latest proposals for the eastern leg of HS2, which will run between Birmingham and Leeds, will see the line head east of Rotherham with some northbound services taking a spur off into Sheffield.
It had previously proposed the line should pass between Rotherham and Sheffield stopping at a new station at Meadowhall.
HS2 claims the changes will mean services using the line to get to and from Leeds and York will be faster.
But a new report from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority expresses concern that there could be an impact on plans to bring in 30 minute rail services between Leeds and Sheffield.
It had been thought those services would use a stretch of HS2 between the two cites.
But as things stand, HS2’s plans do not include a spur connecting Sheffield to HS2 north of the city.
It appears such a link will only be built if the funding can be found as part of the separate HS3 project to improve trans-Pennine rail links.
The report, to be considered by West Yorkshire council leaders at a meeting this week, says the new plan “creates less certainty about fast journey times between Leeds and Sheffield”.
In the same report, transport officials say there is a strong case for HS3 to include plans for a stop in West Yorkshire between Leeds and Manchester, most likely Bradford, and a stop at York to ensure more parts of Yorkshire benefit.