THE Government’s long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) is to be released in the coming week, according to national newspaper reports.

While Northern leaders have repeatedly made the case for a stop in Bradford on a new Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) route between Leeds and Manchester, concern has grown in recent months that this will not happen.

According to The Sunday Times, nearly £100bn will be spent on railways outside London, with three new high-speed lines to cut journey times.

It says the new high-speed lines will include one from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway, one which will run south from Leeds for around 23 miles, plus a 33-mile stretch from Crewe to Manchester, to complete the western leg of HS2.

But the paper reports it is “unclear” whether a new high-speed line will be built from Manchester to Leeds, or whether that section will just see an upgrade, and that the eastern leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds will be scrapped.

Last week, a study of rail journeys found that Bradford has the worst rail connections of any major British city.

It finished bottom due to a lack of direct rail routes and slow connections.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said a new city centre station for Bradford, which would likely be built on the site of St James’s Wholesale Market off Wakefield Road, would “transform” connectivity.

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.”

And on a visit to Birstall earlier this year, Mr Johnson told the Telegraph & Argus: "There is definitely a commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, and a huge investment in railways in the North."

But, he added: "I'm going to have to get back to you to give you chapter and verse on exactly where the stops are going to be, but we're going ahead both with HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail."

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, has previously said that levelling up "cannot and will not happen without the full delivery of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail together".

A Government source told the Sunday Times: "We’re looking at the same journey times as the original HS2 proposals but 10 years sooner. Lots of stations aren’t well connected to particular cities — we’re going to make sure stations are all properly connected to local transport networks.”