A high-speed rail line must be built to cut lengthy journey times between Bradford and major northern cities, Rail Minister Lord Adonis has vowed.

He revealed yesterday that High Speed Two – the company set up to explore a 225mph line from London to the north – would also consider the need for a new Transpennine route.

In doing so, Lord Adonis condemned the poor network conditions facing passengers travelling between the north’s big cities, including Bradford.

He said: “I am struck by the limitations imposed by poor network conditions elsewhere in terms of, for example, extraordinarily slow journey times between major conurbations.

“Consider Manchester, Bradford and Leeds, three of the biggest population and business centres in the country.

“Although there is a high price involved in building high-speed lines, there is also a high price involved in not building them where additional rail capacity is required anyway.”

The Trans-Pennine line, proposed by pressure group Northern Way, would stretch all the way from Liverpool to Leeds and could, the group calculated, boost the north’s economy by £3.5 billion.

Bradford Councillor Chris Greaves, chairman of West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority, said: “I think the first thing to do is ask which is the best for West Yorkshire.

“I’ve got a horrible suspicion they would start building down south, get to Manchester and then run out of money.

“High speed rail is a brilliant concept but it might be too soon to latch on to just one plan.”

He said Bradford could be better served by a high speed East Coast mainline.

“I’d much rather they looked at the East Coast,” he said: “To attract business to this area it would be better to have a strong East Coast link. The cost would be absolutely phenomenal but the Government will have to bite the bullet and accept that to have a serious affect on carbon they need to create the infrastructure. Trains, rather than cars and planes.”

Clive Barton, of the campaigning Bradford Rail Users Group, said: “We need to see where we could fit it that would be commercially viable. If we have an energy crisis it is most important that we get as much transport on trains as possible and less on the road.”

Mike Cartwright, policy executive for the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said the organisation generally supported better public transport links.

He said: “We want better links north to south and east to west.

“We are in a key position geographically – we have got the potential here to reach all points on the map but we’re not quite there yet. The big question is the cost of it, especially with the economy as it is.

“It would be good for the public, for business I’m not so sure. It depends where it’s going, if it’s Leeds to Manchester it’s not going to be a lot of difference to Bradfordians.A lot of business people will still want to use their cars until we make the rail links a lot better.”

e-mail: tanya.orourke @telegraphandargus.co.uk