BRADFORD is tipped to benefit from faster trains as part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) project. 

Last month, the Telegraph & Argus reported the scheme was now understood to include a stop for Bradford.

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe was unable to confirm whether this was the case, but according to documents leaked to a national newspaper, a new fast train line between Manchester and Leeds, via Bradford, will form the “centrepiece” of plans which will be published early next year. 

It currently takes 58 minutes - on the fastest trains - to travel 30 miles to Manchester and 19 minutes for an eight-mile trip to Leeds.

The route between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford takes around one hour, 20 minutes on the Calder Valley line. 

According to the plans, the faster trans-Pennine route between Manchester and Leeds via Huddersfield will also be upgraded. 

They also reveal a package of road and rail improvements to boost the North would cost up to £27bn

Earlier this year, the Next Stop Bradford campaign began in a bid to secure a high-speed railway station in Bradford city centre to unleash the city’s “untapped potential”. 

And a study by a global consultancy firm found there to be a “compelling case” for a station to be built in Bradford. 

The report, commissioned by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and carried out by Arup, said speeding up the journey between Bradford and Leeds and Bradford and Manchester would unlock benefits, not just for Bradford but for the rest of the North. 

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have made a clear economic case for Bradford city centre being a stop on Northern Powerhouse Rail and it’s great if our arguments are persuading people nationally. 
“However at this stage we understand no formal decision has been made. We therefore await the Transport for the North plans which we understand are due in the new year.” 

Simon Cooke, Conservative group leader at Bradford Council, said: “Part of me wants to say ‘let’s see the colour of their money’, but it does look like the pressure that has been put on has been listened to by the Government and they are moving towards committing to investing significant amounts in a new rail link. I think that would be fantastic news for Bradford. It will be not just great for connectivity, but great for our economy.”

He added it would have an impact on making the city a more attractive place to live, work and invest in. 

Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “We very much hope that Bradford will indeed be on a new rail line but it is all still to play for and we are not taking our foot off the gas just yet. 

“It is widely acknowledged that Bradford’s transport connectivity can be much improved and NPR is one way of doing that. 

“However, a clear business case is still being made and lobbying work continues to ensure Transport for the North and others such as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are fully on-board. We need this line and these connections to play a full part in Yorkshire and the North’s economic growth and success.”

Transport for the North declined to comment, but said the plans would be unveiled early next year.