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Cameron: 'HS3' is about connectivity in the north

David Cameron said a third high-speed rail line in the north, known as HS3, was about "connectivity" not just faster journey times.

"It's recognising that if we link up the great cities of the north of England they could become a northern powerhouse to rival the dominance of London," the Prime Minister said.

He added: "It's a fundamental rebalancing, it's part of our long-term economic plan and we're only able to do it because we've got a successful, growing economy."

Lord Prescott 'welcomes' HS3 proposals

Credit: PA Archive

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has welcomed a report proposing a high speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester, but said his party first recommended the plans a decade ago.

The original Northern Way was created by the three Northern Regional Development Agencies in 2004 on my instruction. It was immediately adopted by a Labour government in its report Northern Way: Making It Happen.

Unfortunately, the Northern Way plan, its resources and the Northern Regional Development Agencies were scrapped in one of the first acts of Chancellor Osborne in 2010.

It's taken four years but I'm glad the Government has U-turned to launch its version of the Northern Way, Osborne's Northern Powerhouse.

We eagerly await the promised resources in the Government's upcoming expenditure statement.

Unfortunately, it means the North has missed out on more than four years of lost growth, jobs and prosperity.

Osborne turned Labour's Northern Way into a Tory Northern Delay.

– John Prescott

'HS3' would slash journey times by half in north

Train journey times between northern English cities could be slashed by half after ministers backed plans for a third high-speed railway.

Two trains pass through Church Fenton, North Yorkshire where it is proposed the HS2 railway will link with the East Coast Mainline. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The proposals were put forward in a report from the head of the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project, Sir David Higgins.

The improvements would cover an east-west section of northern England and would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

Sir David said northern connectivity plans - dubbed "HS3" and backed by Chancellor George Osborne - would be "as important to the north of England as Crossrail is for London".

If carried forward, the plans would mean journey times between Leeds and Manchester could almost be cut in half.

While journeys between Leeds and Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield Meadowhall, York and Birmingham and Nottingham to Birmingham could also be reduced by a half or more, and many more journeys across the country substantially shortened.

"Improving connectivity is vital if Britain is to compete in the knowledge economy in which this country has a competitive advantage, but in which ease of travel is an essential element."

– HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins