Would you spend £300 million on a train to Leeds? 

by on 12th October 2017

Would you spend £300 million on a train to Leeds? 

According to news just released by the government and the YEP, the answer is an emphatic yes.

£300 million is about to be expended on improving the rail network to Leeds, which means that 10 million people will be within a one hour train ride of our city.

Good news or bad news?

We think it’s good and here’s why.

With such increased footfall in the city centre, businesses should benefit.

Not just those around the train station, either, but the whole of the city, with tourism inevitably increasing, hotels expanding and increased investment in the centre and suburbs.

It’s why Milton Keynes was born, you know.

That new town in Buckinghamshire obviously doesn’t have the history, heritage or culture of Leeds (we are biased, we know), but it was built for a reason.

That reason is little known, but hopefully won’t be now.

Milton Keynes, or MK, with its concrete cows and its gridded homage to US cities and the car, developed because it was 47 miles away from key places.

47 miles from:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Cambridge
  • Leicester

It was intended to be a commuter, dormitory town for all four but has developed into a substantial place in its own right.

So where will be accessible from Leeds in under an hour via train?

And will it make Leeds lead those northern cities, as we blogged about before?

Manchester already has an average journey time to Leeds of 1 hour and 1 minute and that will drop. 

Liverpool, its westerly neighbour, may become commutable as its current rail journey time is 1 hour 37 minutes.

Could Newcastle-upon-Tyne with a similar current time as Liverpool hit the one hour commute mark?

With many major commuting hotspots already close by, like Huddersfield, Wakefield, Harrogate, Bradford and York, will their journey times be slashed too?

We think so.

What we may see happen in Leeds is that the supply of available housing, which is in short supply currently, should increase.

If commuting times are so drastically reduced, with a talent pool of 10 million people all within an hour’s train ride, will there still be a shortage of quality city centre properties?

We hope not.

Perhaps then we will see the 19 companies currently based in Leeds grow to a much higher figure.

Now that has got to benefit all of us in Leeds – don’t you agree?

£300 million is a huge sum of money for infrastructure investment – but if prosperity and job opportunities increase in Leeds, we will all be winners, and not just those train commuters.

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