An MP has broken ranks to back a rival high-speed rail scheme which promises to deliver bigger benefits to Bradford.

Leeds North West Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland threw his weight behind a project called High Speed UK – arguing it would save billions and link more cities.

Among those cities would be Bradford, according to the group, formed by engineers boasting up to “52 years’ continuous experience in the railway industry”.

The £42.6 billion HS2 scheme would slash the Leeds to London journey time from 2 hrs 20 mins to 1 hr 28 mins, but not until 2033.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said Bradford could gain a two-hour direct rail link to London, as space is freed up on existing intercity lines But High Speed UK insists its proposals would deliver more to Bradford, including:

  • A high-speed hourly service, to the edge of Bradford, to London and Heathrow.
  • A ‘Bradford Crossrail’ service, linking the north and south of the city via a new Central Station.
  • Restoration of the Spen Valley route, linking Bradford to Cleckheaton, Dews-bury and Heckmondwike.

During transport questions, Mr Mulholland said: “High Speed UK would cause less environmental damage, would be £14 billion cheaper and would connect more cities than just Birmingham and London.”