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BRING high-speed rail to Bradford - that's the rallying cry from the city's leaders to the Government today.

Chancellor George Osborne will use his Budget to give the go-ahead for a high-speed rail link, dubbed HS3, between Leeds and Manchester.

No formal timetable has been set out to deliver the scheme, although it's not expected to be up and running for at least a decade.

The Chancellor is today setting aside £60m to fully investigate where HS3's new railways and tunnels should go - and which towns or cities the route should pass through.

Julian Jackson, Bradford Council's assistant director of planning, transportation and highways, said there was now a "window of opportunity to make sure we put our case forward".

He said bringing high-speed rail to Bradford would be "a game-changer for the city".

Cllr Slater, whose portfolio includes transport, said if high-speed rail came through Bradford, journey times to Manchester could be slashed to under 25 minutes.

And the city's business leaders are backing this call, with the Chamber of Commerce saying it would be a "dereliction of duty" if those leading the Northern Powerhouse project snubbed Bradford when drawing up the route.



MORE TOP STORIES Mr Osborne said: "With the difficulties we see in the global economy, we’ve got to make Britain fit for the future."Now is the time for us to make the bold decisions and the big investments that will help us to lead the world in infrastructure, and create jobs, push up living standards and boost our productivity for the next generation." The job of scoping out the options will fall to Transport for the North, a consortium of transport authorities across the north of England working on the Chancellor's Northern Powerhouse project.One of the options being looked at is a route through Bradford and its political and business leaders are now lobbying hard for this to become a reality - saying it would be a "game-changer" for the city.Bradford Council deputy leader Councillor Val Slater said the council would push for the high-speed link to call into the Bradford Interchange, or even a new, purpose-built high-speed rail station.


The three options are understood to be upgrading either the existing Transpennine route through Huddersfield or the Calder Valley line through Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale, or constructing a brand new line entirely - possibly by tunnelling under the Pennines.

Transport for the North is expected to unveil a preferred route by next year.


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