MOVES to scrap the eastern leg of HS2 have been branded a 'betrayal for the north'.

Boris Johnson has insisted the Government will investigate ways of extending HS2 to Leeds amid anger over a scaling back of railway plans for the North.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is today, Thursday, publishing its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) featuring £96 billion of investment in the Midlands and the North with major revisions to previously announced goals.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has now confirmed the eastern leg of HS2 will be scrapped between the East Midlands and Leeds, savings tens of billions of pounds.

York Press:

PA Graphic

The eastern leg would have seen Birmingham connected with Leeds and York via Sheffield, improve the reliability and speed of services to and from York station and across the North.

  • The announcement has provoked strong reaction in York and the region. Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, told the House of Commons there would be 'an economic price paid for generations' as a result of today's announcement.

City of York Council leader Cllr Keith Aspden accused the Government of going back on its pledge to ‘level up’ the North.

The new proposals also water down a promise to fund the Northern Powerhouse Rail, a new high-speed rail link in the North of England, by instead focusing on upgrades to existing lines.

York Press:

HS2 lines are expected to stop before reaching Yorkshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

HS2 Eastern leg would have integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail and local transport to relieve congestion, improve reliability and speed up journey times.

The proposals include welcome investment in the East Coast Main Line, said Cllr Aspden, but said this was no substitute for the comprehensive plan Government had promised for years.

"The Government has once again failed to listen to the voices of Yorkshire and the North, who will be most impacted by the consequences of this decision," he said.

“Failure to deliver on HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail is a betrayal of the North and the levelling up agenda, which continues to be a vapid political slogan.

“We cannot talk about levelling up and a commitment to the North without addressing the decades of underinvestment across our transport networks. We haven’t had a major new rail line in the north since the Victorians and it means our infrastructure is simply not fit for a 21st century economy.

“Instead of committing to provide the rail services that work for our communities, as part of a joined-up transport system that connects people to better jobs, better education, and more opportunities, this Government is proposing to tinker around the edges.

"Whilst any investment in existing lines, such as the East Coast Main Line, is of course welcome and important, this patchwork policy is no substitute for the long promised comprehensive investment in joined up Northern Powerhouse Rail project.

“York is one of the best connected cities in the country and will remain at the heart of the rail industry in the North.

"Government must deliver comprehensive investment and an integrated rail service in the North, which would see the full potential of the region unleashed."He added: "We will continue to work to make the case for York, bringing more investment and rail industry jobs to the city, including by bidding to become the new home of Great British Rail.”