SHEFFIELD firms are being urged to throw their weight behind a campaign to bring a high speed rail link to the city.
The call comes from City Council leaders who want businesses from across the city to respond to a Department for Transport consultation, which ends on July 29, supporting a high-speed rail link.
Campaigners say a high speed link would cut an hour off the current journey time, reducing it to just 75 minutes, boost the local economy, create jobs and make ordinary passengers’ lives easier by freeing up capacity on existing lines.
To reinforce the message the national “Yes to High Speed Rail” campaign brought a bus, painted to show what a high speed train would be like, to Barkers Pool.
Sheffield City Council cabinet member for business, jobs and growth, Coun Helen Mirfin-Boukouris, said: “We won’t be derailed in our mission to get this fantastic business link here in Sheffield.
“A link between Sheffield and London and other major cities in the UK will undoubtedly bring opportunities to the city. If people can get to and from Sheffield in a day to do business here, then this will be a great step forward in encouraging companies to see Sheffield as a business destination.
“We strongly believe that a national high speed rail network, along with improvements to conventional rail routes, are essential to increasing inter-city trade and improving access to more local jobs within commuting distance.”
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has already thrown its weight behind the campaign for a high speed rail link.
Chamber Transport Forum chairman, Tim Hale, said: “The more I learn about high speed rail, and its power to deliver prosperity in the provincial regions of countries that have it, the more convinced I am that it is right for us in the UK.
“There is a growing demand for more trains in the UK which needs to be met.
“I am strongly behind high speed rail being a key part of the answer to that. The new line will increase capacity for commuter and inter-city travellers and push down costs on commuter trains.”
Professor David Begg, director of the campaign for high speed rail, added: “High speed rail will bring £44 billion in economic benefits, will allow for businesses to reach new markets, and it will better connect us to Europe and keep Britain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.
“Most importantly, high speed rail will give the rest of the country a chance at economic prosperity.”
n To comment on the proposals, visit the Department for Transport website: http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/