The development of the new high-speed rail network planned across the UK will see a major service depot built in Leeds, providing a catalyst for the city’s economy.

As plans for the upcoming multi-billion pound rail network, High Speed 2 (HS2), continue apace, the latest announcement that Leeds will provide the home for a depot for the trains on the eastern side of the route has been welcomed by local councillors as a way of bringing new jobs and more homes to the area.

The high-speed trains will be maintained, serviced and stored at the new 24-hour depot at Gateway 45 near the M1 in Leeds, as part of Phase 2b of the rail network plans that will see London connected to Leeds via the East and West Midlands, which is expected to be completed by 2033. The project will aim to cut journey times between Leeds and London by around 50 minutes to just one hour and 22 minutes.

Boosting the economy

According to the Department for Transport, the depot itself could result in an additional 125 jobs to the area, and it is expected to form part of Leeds’ huge South Bank regeneration that could bring 10,000 people to live and work in the region, with the creation of as many as 12,000 new homes.

Leeds will see “immediate benefits” from the changes brought about by HS2, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, who believes it will act as an “economic catalyst, creating skilled jobs, boosting the local economy by unlocking regeneration opportunities and driving continued investment”.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, added: “I welcome the news that the HS2 depot will be located at Gateway 45 in Leeds.

“It’s now important that through our continued work with HS2 and the DfT that we finalise the proposals for the University of Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail, which will be world leading in its field, and underpin the continued success of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone.”

Exciting time for transport

News of an ambitious plan to overhaul the roads and public transport services in Leeds over the next 10 years was also revealed last month, with proposals for better connections in the city centre as well as building a mass transit system. The aim is to increase the number of bus passengers, and the city will be able to use a £174m fund to support the project.

Council transport executive board member Richard Lewis said: “It’s an exciting time for transport. We are changing our road layout and our public spaces. There is a huge amount going on and this is just the beginning.”