Go West

I'm off to do some stuff in that London tomorrow, including a couple of get togethers which I hope will being benefit to VANBAR associates.  London remains the business capital of the world and, just a two-hour train ride from Leeds, we intend to be fully part of the action.

However, despite what some members of the metropolitan media elite might have us believe, there is life beyond Watford.

The progress Leeds has made in the 11 years we've lived here is quite remarkable.   And Manchester continues to thrive, to put it mildly.  

But whilst the nice trains from Leeds to London cover 200 miles in the time it takes to wade through the morning papers and have a cuppa, it takes almost an hour for the cross-Pennine chugger to crawl a mere 38 miles.  And, in my experience,  you can forget the tea and papers because a seat is out of the question.

That's why I was delighted to wake up this morning to news that things may be about to get better.

Controversy continues to rage about the North-South high-speed rail link, known as "HS2," which our country desperately needs.  

And now the boss of HS2 has produced a report recommending an "HS3" East-West link to cut the journey time from Leeds to Manchester to a mere 26 minutes.  Maybe they'll put a few extra seats in too.

Stand-by for a flurry of complaints from the usual quarters at the estimated £7 billion cost.  Many of the same individuals and groups will also be looking forward to using London's new £16 billion Crossrail train line which opens in 2016.   

Nine years ago, when I was Senior Press Officer at Yorkshire Forward, I remember dealing with the fall-out from the Government of the day putting the block on the Leeds Supertram project - despite £40 million of public money having already been spent on it.  

The overall costs would have been the same as the amount set aside to fund the refurbishment of the ticket hall at London's King's Cross station.   The latter got the go ahead. 

Perhaps some common sense and foresight is now about to prevail.