FURTHER calls have been made for high-speed rail in the North, with a station in Bradford seen as a vital part of the "transformative" impact it could have. 

It comes amid a report in a national newspaper which suggested that the Government is expected to rule out including Bradford on the direct route of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) “on cost grounds”.

A new report has sought to highlight the huge economic benefit high-speed rail between Leeds, Bradford and Manchester could bring. 

The analysis, from from global engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald, says it could deliver a £22bn boost to the Northern economy by 2060 - nearly £8bn more than previously forecast.

It says it could potentially increase productivity by six per cent, equivalent to £16.5bn; raise the employment rate by 1.5 per cent, equivalent to £5.5bn and increase gross value added (GVA) in the North by about eight per cent over 10 years.

The report, which is being launched today, says traditional cost-benefit analysis has failed to recognise the true economic potential of the scheme.

In March last year, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Telegraph & Argus that he was keen to progress NPR and added: “Bradford has a lot going for it and I’m very keen to make sure Bradford benefits from it.”

He added: “This is a Government that is all about levelling up and connecting communities that sometimes feel that they have been left behind and when I hear that I think of Bradford because you have two rail stations that come to buffers and that’s something that this Leeds-Manchester line could resolve.”

But Northern leaders have spoken of their frustration over delays to the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), which was originally due to be published at the end of last year, arguing that confusion and uncertainty is undermining business confidence in the region.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The North is still waiting for the high-speed rail we were promised. Building Northern Powerhouse Rail across the Pennines in full through Bradford would be transformative for our region, attracting investment and creating jobs and opportunities for local people.

“Uncertainty over rail investment, in particular the Eastern Leg of HS2, is doing huge damage to our economy.

“We need to start building from the North down from Leeds to reach Sheffield to unlock connectivity benefits sooner.

“This is vital to releasing much-needed capacity on the rail line, improving local connections and allowing more goods to be transported by freight instead of heavily-polluting HGV lorries.

“Levelling up cannot and will not happen without the full delivery of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail together.”

Cathy Travers, Managing Director of Mott MacDonald’s UK and Europe operations, said NPR would be a catalyst for change and it is needed “urgently”.

She added: “I believe our paper makes a compelling case for Government backing for Northern Powerhouse Rail in the forthcoming Integrated Rail Plan.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Integrated Rail Plan will soon outline exactly how major rail projects, including HS2 phase 2b and other transformational projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, will work together to deliver the reliable train services that passengers across the North and Midlands need and deserve.”