UK: Plea Over High-Speed Rail Link

Train company bosses today welcomed a report by MPs which broadly supported the Government's HS2 high-speed rail project - but there was a call from West Yorkshire for construction work to start in the north and south at the same time.

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "A new high-speed line is vital if we are to meet the transport challenges that will face the country over the coming decades.

"But the committee is right to point out that high speed should not come at the expense of investment in the existing network.

"High-speed rail (HSR) would help to alleviate the capacity crunch on many of our main intercity routes and would also offer the option for faster and more frequent local services.

"We should be confident that we can meet the needs of the country as a whole while also addressing the local concerns of residents who may be affected."

West Yorkshire Metro chairman Clr James Lewis said: "To unlock its huge forecast economic benefits, HS2 needs to link its key northern destinations of Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester with Birmingham and London at the earliest opportunity, which would mean starting construction at both ends of a planned route as soon as possible."

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