Plans unveiled for Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford


Leader of Bradford Council Susan Hinchcliffe has announced plans for a new Northern Powerhouse Rail station in the city centre to open in 2030.

Her announcement comes as civic and business leaders from across Yorkshire and the North are urging the government not to break its promise to voters by scaling back Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) through Bradford, the first step towards a high-speed network across the Pennines from Leeds towards Manchester.

Cllr Hinchcliffe reiterated the case for why a new station could unlock the full potential one of Britain’s youngest, most diverse and fastest growing cities.

The line from the NPR station in central Bradford to Leeds would underpin an integrated urban area larger than Birmingham, with a labour market of over 1.3 million people and more than 600,000 jobs.

It would increase annual GVA by £2.9 billion by 2060, an uplift equivalent to a third of the districts economy as it stands today and creating 27,000 extra jobs.

The current 25-minute journey to Leeds – which is so unreliable that 70% of commuters still choose to drive – would become no more than an easy tube journey is in London.

Since then, the government has made repeated commitments to deliver the project in full, including the speech by the Prime Minister in the Power Hall in Manchester, where the commitment to build a new line from Leeds to Manchester was first made.

Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“Bradford is one of the fastest-growing, youngest and most diverse cities in the country. It is brimming with talent and potential. 

“The Prime Minister has committed to Northern Powerhouse Rail, and this early stage of the line from Leeds to here could see real progress made by making us the equivalent of only a short tube ride apart, a critical step to the full network to Manchester and on to Liverpool.

“Our vision for Bradford is bold. A new rail station built in a decade with an extended city centre that will help us become better-connected and more prosperous.”

Lord Jim O’Neill, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:

“The Northern Powerhouse Rail project from Leeds to Bradford across to Manchester, travelling on to Manchester Airport and Liverpool, is vital to the long-term goal of raising productivity and building a thriving Northern Powerhouse. 

“It is now critical we get spades in the ground on the new line, building a new station for Bradford and building the tracks to Leeds to get faster, more reliable, more frequent services. 

“Building stronger links between Bradford and Leeds will unlock agglomeration benefits for both cities, with a population and labour market larger than Birmingham. 

“Once we have built forged stronger connections between city regions across the Pennines, the North can act as a genuine counterweight to London and the South East.”

Professor Zahir Irani, chair of the Bradford Economic Recovery Board and deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bradford, said:

“As well as a recovery post Covid, we need to start thinking long-term about building an inclusive and, sustainable future for Bradford that benefits all.  

“Linking the city centre to other great northern cities such as Leeds and then to Manchester in the West through Northern Powerhouse Rail would provide vital economic stimulus, unlocking the significant expansion of the city centre.

“An innovation district, directly made possible by the new station extending the city centre, will enable the strengths we have in higher education and health innovation to be brought together where we have world class capabilities.”

Jim McMahon MP, shadow transport secretary, said:

“We first heard the idea for a new high speed rail link across the Pennines in 2014. More than five years later, we’re no closer to getting it – yet another example of empty promises from Government.

“If ministers are serious about helping every region of the country rebuild, that means delivering HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, including direct city centre links between Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.

“Labour MPs and mayoral candidates like Tracy Brabin are fighting tooth and nail to make sure these projects happen to deliver real change to communities in the North. “

Photo credit – Tim Green

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