Business leader calls for better rail links between Sheffield and Manchester

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Better rail links between Sheffield and Manchester should be part of Government economic plans say business leaders.

Chancellor George Osborne announced he was considering the possibility of providing Government funding for a high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds as part of efforts to improve the economic prospects for northern England.

However, James Newman, Sheffield city region local enterprise partnership chairman, said the organisation would have liked to have seen Sheffield included in the headline proposals for improving links between the north-west and north-east.

He said: “It is disappointing that east-west linkages between Greater Manchester, Sheffield city region and Hull do not form part of these headline proposals.

“We will be seeking to explore this further with Government, including accelerating the delivery of HS2 linking London with the north and reducing journey times from Manchester to Sheffield on the southern Trans-Pennine route.”

Bill Mordue, Sheffield city region combined authority transport committee chairman, said: “We welcome the Government’s call for a HS3 high-speed rail line linking the northern cities.

“Poor connectivity means the enormous untapped economic potential of the north is not being realised.”

“Upgraded Trans-Pennine rail links should however include Sheffield and Liverpool and extend to the Humber ports if they are to truly release the north’s potential for growth.

“We believe any upgraded Trans-Pennine line should also connect to the eastern leg of the HS2 to maximise the connectivity benefits.

“The work needs to start now to ensure this aspiration becomes a reality and the UK, as the world’s first railway nation, has a rail network to allow it to compete in a 21st Century world.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, said Mr Osborne’s proposals did not go far enough and Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds should be established as a ‘Northern golden triangle’ to drive economic growth in the region.