Watch the full announcement, made at an event in Leeds today.

BRADFORD is to get a station on the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) line, it has been confirmed today.

Transport for the North (TfN) has, for the first time, outlined its vision for NPR, a rail network between the North of England's six biggest cities and other economic centres.

NPR, which would see a new railway line linking Leeds with Manchester via Bradford as well as much faster connections between Leeds and Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull, would mean that an extra 46 per cent of the population, more than 1.4 million residents, would be able to access three major cities within 90 minutes from home.

The announcement will delight campaigners, who have previously said bringing high-speed rail to Bradford city centre would boost the local economy by £1.3bn, improve journey times and increase capacity on the railway network.

It is not yet clear whether the new station will be in the city centre or at an out-of-town parkway location.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Map of the new route, showing Bradford on a new stretch of high-speed line (in lime green).

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council leader, said she was pleased with the announcement but the station’s location was the next aspect to be clarified.

She said: "This is what we have been pushing for all the way along.

“What we need to keep pushing for is to make sure it's a city centre station and at the moment that's not clear and that's a business case we are putting forward for Bradford already.

“We are already working with TfN saying that's what we need.

“We see in the city centre such regeneration opportunities - the south of the city centre you've got quite a lot of land there which would immediately increase in value if we get a city centre station.

“We've got an interchange station, let's use it, let's redevelop that, but of course that case is still to be made.

“Chris Grayling has been very positive about what we need in Bradford, it's also about convincing civil servants down in Westminster.

“This TfN case is being put together with all the local authorities' agreement across the North - that's a plan that now we need to wait for feedback from the Minister and Government to see which bits they can fund.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe added the announcement would bring a huge jobs boost to the Bradford district and will mean people can live in Bradford and commute to cities including Manchester.

She said: “For me, it's all about jobs, investment, bringing businesses to the district.

“It's about our young people having opportunities both to set up businesses here themselves but also to have access to jobs that we know they are all capable of doing.

“It's about using the talent of our city to its maximum.

“There's two key things we need to get right - one is education and the other is transport connectivity.

“If you improve those two things then the rest of the economy just comes together.

“You should be able to go from Bradford to Manchester quite easily so if you want to live in Bradford and work in Manchester you should be able to do that, you shouldn't have to move.

“Similarly if you want to live in Manchester and work in Bradford that should be easy too. It shouldn't be over an hour's journey between Bradford and Manchester it should just be a half-hour journey.”

Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South, said: "This is a big step for Bradford. An NPR station here would be a huge boost for the city. It would make it much easier to commute to and from Bradford, giving more people access to good jobs, as well as bringing in businesses to the city.

“In parliament I’ve repeatedly pressed for NPR to stop in Bradford and for the city to get its fair share of transport funding. We have been held back for far too long in favour of investment in London and the South East - Transport for the North’s plans are a significant milestone in redressing the imbalance.

“I’m pleased too that our city is recognised as a key economic centre in today’s report. With the right investment Bradford will not only be able to realise its own potential but also be a key driver for economic growth across the North.

“I’ll continue to do as much as I can to ensure the plans are seen through and deliver the best possible deal for Bradford.”

The announcement was also backed by Bradford businesses. 

Tanya Jackson, head of corporate affairs at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “We welcome this report and are pleased to see the plan includes Bradford as a stop on the route.

"Investment in proper rail connections for Bradford is long overdue and would make a transformational change.

"It must be made quicker and easier to travel to work in our region, and Bradford should not be left behind.” 

Next Stop Bradford, a cross-party campaign by political and business leaders, was launched last year to press the case for the planned new NPR line across the Pennines to include a stop in Bradford city centre.

Plans for future transport investment in Leeds City Region and the wider North of England have been outlined at an event held in Leeds today, marking the publication of a 30-year plan to drive economic growth.

Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director at Transport for the North, said: "It's really important because of the connectivity and the transformational programme we are looking at. 

"It's about jobs, it's about growing economy in the North.

"Bradford is a centrepoint, although it's not a city region within the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, we're looking to deliver transformational growth of the railway and the only way we are going to be able to do that is by looking at new line openings - Leeds, Bradford, down to Manchester - we hope with the economic analysis we are doing at the moment, it will actually produce a set of outcomes that will go in our strategic outline business case to the partners of North, the leaders of the North and also to the Secretary of State.

"We will put down in there all the economics, the analysis. We will put down there the programme as to how we would look to deliver this in terms of timetable etc and this looking at the whole system, which is something which is really important, how that could be phased in especially with the work that's planned on the Trans Pennine upgrade, which is already in very early design."

On the location of the station in Bradford, Mr Wood said: "What I think is really important is that we do all the economics first of all.

"We know that Bradford has set their own group up in terms of looking at the station option within the city centre. We need to understand the costs and the benefits and how that will work through.

"I think what's very important is the launch of the Strategic Transport Plan - the NPR network in there has Bradford in it and I think it's important that through the consultation period of the next 13 weeks, that that message continally gets pushed through."

He said the connectivity of Bradford was important.

"It's really important we look at it holistically," he said. "And make sure that we spend the money efficiently, we spend it on the right projects and that we actually have the buy in of the Northern leaders and partners."

The plan also outlines proposals for a rail route across the central Pennines, which would be prioritised for freight. 

Cllr Hinchcliffe is expected to tell today's full Council meeting that this would be an opportunity to further promote the Colne-Skipton rail link, with potential benefits for Keighley

John Cridland, TfN chairman, said: "TfN's vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

“For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the North fulfils its potential.

"Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high quality jobs.

"This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment."

The plan was launched at the aql Data Centre in Leeds.

The technology company announced it would be building an internet exchange in Bradford to extend its infrastructure into the city.

"The Northern Powerhouse Rail is actually quite key to allowing conversations to happen quickly and for us to share our skills across the region," said aql Chief Executive Professor Adam Beaumont.

TfN's Strategic Transport Plan outlines how connections across the North of England need to be improved to drive growth and close the economic gap between the North and the rest of England.

Aimed at rebalancing the UK’s economy through a sustained 30-year programme of transport infrastructure investment, TfN says the transport plan could deliver a £100 billion boost to the economy and 850,000 additional jobs by 2050. 

Other plans include smart ticketing across rail and bus travel, reduced queuing times, enhanced real time service information, journey planning tools and a simplified pricing structure. 

TfN will become England’s first sub-national transport body at the beginning of April. This means that the organisation’s plans will be formally considered by Government when taking decisions about transport investment in the North.

However, it does not have the ability to borrow capital or raise revenue. 
Earlier today, John Prescott stormed out of a launch event in Hull and told the BBC that while TfN can talk to the treasury, it will have “no powers”, can’t make a decision and doesn’t get any money. 

The cost of the ambitious 30-year plan is estimated at around £2-£2.3 billion per year.

Barry White, CEO of Transport for the North, said: “Last night the House of Commons approved regulations for Transport for the North to become the first statutory sub-national transport body in England. Following the successful approval from the House of Lords on the December, 18 this will come to force on April 1, 2018.

“The powers that we will have are broadly in line with those envisioned in 2016 when the organisation was formed. In agreeing these powers we have received the consent of 56 local authorities across the whole of the North, including all of our constituent authorities.

“Statutory status will ensure our plans are formally considered by Government when taking decisions about transport investment in the North, representing a significant shift of power. For the first time ever, the North’s transport needs and its opportunities for economic growth are being considered at a regional level and by the people who are living and working in the North. That is what matters. 

“We’re already having a significant and positive impact on investment in transport infrastructure in the North, influencing both Highways England and Network Rail’s future investment programmes. Our work on Northern Powerhouse Rail led to £300m of funding being allocated in the Autumn Budget, as a down payment on Northern Powerhouse Rail, to enable links between our proposed network and HS2.”   

The public are now being asked to share their thoughts on the proposals through a 13-week consultation.

The public consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan will run until April 17, with events taking place across the north, including in Bradford on April 10. A final version of the plan will be published later in the year and submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration.