Everything Boris Johnson said after being downgraded from HS2 at Huddersfield

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today unveiled a £ 96 billion rail package to transform rail travel in northern England and the Midlands.

Three new high-speed lines are being built, and extensive expansions of existing tracks have also been promised.

However, the Labor Party dubbed the plans “The Great Train Robbery” after it became known that HS2 will not reach Leeds, that new lines will not be built entirely via the Northern Powerhouse Rail and Bradford will not get a new station.

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YorkshireLive sat down with Mr Johnson on a visit to Huddersfield Railway Station, where he talked in more detail about the “gigantic” plans.

He described the proposals as “a colossal commitment” that will deliver. ” Transformational Benefits ”as part of the Leveling Up Agenda.

Here’s all he had to say.

You promised earlier this year that HS2 would come to Leeds entirely. That doesn’t happen now. So why should the Yorkshire people trust what you say?

What I said at the time, and what is sure to happen, is that we’re both going to do parts of HS2. HS2 will go all the way to Sheffield.

You have half an hour of free time from London to Sheffield [and] We will then look at ways of extending it to Leeds. But that is an immense gain.

We are here in Huddersfield and you are looking at an amazing plan to take the Northern Powerhouse Rail from Liverpool all the way to Hull and from Manchester to Leeds.

It will be reduced from 55 minutes to 33 minutes from Manchester to Leeds.

It will bring a lot of opportunity and confidence to people looking to travel from places like Huddersfield that weren’t on the original proposal.

Do not forget that Huddersfield, Wakefield, Dewsbury would not have been properly looked after. We wanted to do that.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Huddersfield Railway Station as he announces the government's integrated rail plan
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Huddersfield Railway Station as he announces the government’s integrated rail plan

People say we haven’t made new paths everywhere that go through pristine landscapes and through villages and lands and so on. And I accept that.

We’re building more than 100 miles of new piping, we’re doing a lot of it.

But we don’t do it everywhere because that way you can get a much better effect and much better and faster benefits.

So we’re shortening train times from London to Leeds by 20 minutes because of the upgrade to the main east coast line.

But if you look at what’s going on in the east [to] west – the connection to the Northern Powerhouse Rail is fantastic.

But then you shave off Leeds for 20 minutes or more [to] Bradford shut down on 12 minutes.

These are the profits we’re making across the Northeast, Northwest, and East and West Midlands.

Also, don’t forget what happens from Birmingham to Nottingham. A huge new high-speed line. This cuts the time from the West Midlands to the East Midlands from one hour 14 minutes to 26 minutes. It’s revolutionary.

Boris Johnson speaks to YorkshireLive at Huddersfield Station after presenting his North and Midlands Integrated Railway Plan
Boris Johnson speaks to YorkshireLive at Huddersfield Station after presenting his North and Midlands Integrated Railway Plan

Actually, all roads lead to Leeds, because you can either climb on the left side via Manchester on the NPR or finally on the right side of the Y with the HS2 trains via Sheffield.

We’ll see what else we can do.

Leeds is also getting a subway network. It’s the largest city in Europe that doesn’t have one. We’re investing £ 200 million to get started.

We will also ensure that the Leeds station is HS2 compatible – ready for HS2 trains when they arrive.

But why not just build HS2 completely to Leeds, as you promised?

It could end up going to Leeds, but what I said is that we’re going to develop the right part of the east part of HS2. We do that….

But not completely

Well, it depends because in the end there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be Leeds.

Lots of people will say, now let’s build a brand new high-speed line through the countryside. You don’t get any use out of it for decades and it takes a long time and it takes tens, hundreds of billions to build.

What we get are immediate commuter benefits; Upgrades to the Midlands Mainline, the East Coast Mainline and not just a Crossrail for the north in Northern Powerhouse Rail, but a Crossrail for the Midlands. All of these amazing cities that had no real advantages.

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We also get contactless payment systems.

700 stations outside London and in the south-east – most of them in the north of the country – will receive a system where you can simply wave your mobile phone or your plastic at the barrier and go through.

That makes traveling a lot easier. You are guaranteed to get the cheapest rate for your trip. And I think that will increase passenger numbers and growth.

We’re trying to get a system going in the north of the country and the Midlands where people have so much trust in the commuter network.

We are also increasing capacity and increasing the number of trains you get per hour.

It’s going to be like the Circle Line in London. You don’t have to wait long for someone else to come.

That builds commuters’ confidence that they can just show up and catch a train, and that powers tremendous economic activity.

Many promises you made for West Yorkshire were broken today. How can the people here be confident that the local public transport system will evolve and what are your plans to make this realistic now?

I respectfully disagree with the promises being broken.

This is the monumental investment in the rail. There hasn’t been anything like it in a century.

We’re doing both parts of the Y, plus we’re doing Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I mentioned the reduction in travel times. Leeds [to] Manchester shut down on 33 minutes. It will make a huge difference.

The Leeds metro system – we’re helping with another £ 200 million.

Of course we have to work with the authorities in Leeds to do that, but the other thing they want, and we want to support, is to get the station ready in time for it to take HS2 trains

HS2 trains will already be running to Sheffield as part of this plan, which will cut your time to Sheffield by around half an hour.

We’ll see how you get to Leeds on HS2 trains from then on.

But Leeds will be massively better connected with the changes announced today. So 20 minutes for London. 20 minutes to Manchester. Eight minutes ahead of Bradford time.

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There are great transformational benefits plus a subway plus greater capacity.

The journey times are all very good, but there is confidence that the train is coming.

If you have three trains an hour, that’s very different from five an hour. Five trains an hour, most people will basically just happily show up and wait.

So, as you increase the frequency, you increase capacity and build commuter confidence.

Besides the funding and the money we have for the local transport system, are there any schedules?

We want the benefits of this to take hold by the end of this decade. The Midland mainline upgrade will be completed by the end of this decade.

But all of this should certainly get through by the 2030s.

That is almost 10 years faster than the original plan.

This is a massive real-time leveling up exercise.

The problem with the original plan was that it was a gigantic approach that said, “It will all be new lines, it all has to be that way.”

We’re not ruling out new lines, but we’re starting with things that could really change urban transport.

What I found was that people – more than anything – were interested in local networks, better local connections, improved local facilities, and the East [to] western connection.

They said: “Yes, of course everyone wants to go to London, but we also want fast east-west connections.”

Can you set a date today that you will seriously get into Leeds with HS2?

If we had done the original it wouldn’t have happened until the 2040s at the earliest, so we could do things faster, but we have to work with the people in Leeds to see where we are with the plans.

But right now the HS2 line goes to Sheffield, or of course you can just take HS2 and then the NPR lap via Manchester.

Either way, all roads lead to Leeds in one way or another.

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