Increased use of already busy commuter trains would be needed to reach the change of trains to HS2 at Leeds

The HS2 effect

With the cost of HS2 now estimated to be at least £56bn, the value of a high speed railway to the vast Yorkshire region with its many population centres continues to come under scrutiny.

The HS2 plan is to build a high-speed railway from London to Birmingham, then, subject to Government approval, create a Y-shape of northern links from Birmingham to Manchester, then Birmingham to Leeds by 2033.

While some have maintained the whole Yorkshire region will receive a major boost from the high-speed railway, many believe HS2 with its very few stations and limited connectivity is an expensive luxury item, or even a 'white elephant'. This is especially the case when considering the practicalities of having to catch commuter trains to reach one of the few stations where you can catch an HS2 service in the first place.

The audience for the premium line is potentially further narrowed by the likelihood of higher fares than existing, sometimes more direct if slightly slower, journeys.

Many have spoken out for a much greater need for better commuter railways to ease Yorkshire's congestion hotspots. They have stated a need for better trains with more seats and more stations, while some areas now congested with road traffic have even called for reopening of some lines closed in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Low Moor, near Bradford, is one of Yorkshire's newest commuter stations, but several other proposed stations have for years been waiting for funds to build them The massive cost of HS2 is equivalent to the cost of opening several thousands of new commuter stations on existing lines. HS2, on the other hand, has only one new station proposed in the whole of Yorkshire, a terminus at Leeds, while there will be connections to existing conventional railways, but only reaching to Sheffield and York.

For the first time, a new study has assessed individual cities and major towns throughout the Yorkshire region, calculating the expected benefits HS2 will bring when the proposed section from the Midlands to Leeds is complete in 2033. It assumes that by that time HS2 will have already been extended from Birmingham to Manchester.

On each home page for the biggest cities and towns in Yorkshire, we have added one of three simple ratings based on convenience and time saved over present-day services if travelling from there to London:
White elephant:
Takes the same time or longer than an existing service or saves less than 10 minutes while now causing a change of trains.
Coffee break:
Saves 10 to 45 minutes. Time for a cup of coffee at your destination rather than on the train?
City slicker:
Saves 45 minutes or more on the existing service, getting you to that all-important London meeting in good time.

At present services between Leeds and London use platforms near to connecting services We've been fairly generous towards HS2 in making the assessment. Where a change of trains would be needed, we have assumed that you are on the fastest train to the station where you change to HS2, that it arrives on time, that you have 10 minutes to change to the HS2 platform and that an HS2 train is already waiting to depart at that time. No assessment is made of additional journey costs possible in connecting to HS2. The assessment is made on journeys from Yorkshire to London with again no account taken of any convenience or inconvenience in arrival at London Euston rather than London King's Cross station. HS2 may, however, offer benefits other than travel to London, such as travel from Yorkshire to Birmingham.

See the results near the travel section of our pages for: Barnsley Bradford Doncaster Halifax Harrogate Huddersfield Leeds Kingston upon Hull Middlesbrough Rotherham Scarborough Selby Sheffield Wakefield York

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