Here we go again! Boris Johnson is promising us HS3, a high-speed line between Manchester and Leeds. Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and assume this is serious, not just a bit of bluster.

Nobody in Government, it seems, understands the practicalities. HS2 was badly conceived, largely as a result of its obsession with ultra-high speed, which is of little extra benefit in this small island of ours.

Firstly, why Leeds but not Sheffield? The Hope Valley rail link between Manchester and Sheffield is poor, and the road links across the Peak District passes desperately so. A project to link Manchester with both Leeds and Sheffield would benefit the North more than just one in the M62 corridor.

Secondly, how much would HS3 cost? Ask a few experts what the cost of a long base tunnel under the Pennines, between Manchester and Leeds, would be.

The surface terrain is so forbidding and West Yorkshire so built-up nothing else is likely to be practicable. It would be of Channel Tunnel proportions.

But there is an alternative.

There used to be a railway - the Great Central Railway - through the Woodhead Pass, with a short three mile summit tunnel. We are told this isn’t practicable because there are National Grid cables through the tunnel. That is an utterly unconvincing excuse.

A route here would be largely in the open rather than in tunnel, and would connect Manchester to both Sheffield and Leeds.

The line east of Manchester still exists as far as Glossop/Hadfield, and can be upgraded to form part of the new line without extensive tunnelling or property purchase and demolition.

Alan Robinson,

Lindley Street,

Holgate, York