In a move that brings the North of England’s proposed high speed railway connectivity solution one step closer, the head of HS2 project, Sir David Higgins has publicly put his weight behind the scheme.

The initial aim of the proposed HS3 is to increase the connectivity between Manchester and Leeds by creating a route that would take just 26 minutes instead of the existing 48 minutes.

The new route will act as an addition of the Y shaped HS2 which will connect London to Leeds and Manchester, but which didn't connect these two vital Northern cities to each other.

Discussing the issue of connectivity between the two cities, Sir David said: “If you look at the two huge cities - Leeds and Manchester - less than half a per cent of the people in each city travel to the other city to work.

“So in this competitive world access to skilled people is crucial for cities to compete and a good, reliable, fast rail service will improve that.”

The two cities are 38 miles apart, which is about the same distance as the central line in London, however connections between the two cities remain stubbornly difficult.

The calls for the development of HS3 follow other suggestions for increasing the connectivity between the two cities including calls for the creation of a new commuter town to be built almost equidistant between Leeds and Manchester around junction 22 of the M62.

There is a building momentum to help the cities of the UK and specifically the Northern cities of the UK (specifically Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull) in order to create a second engine for the economy and rebalance the economy which is often too London-centric.

Chancellor George Osbourne first called for HS3 announcing he wanted to create a Northern Global Powerhouse. Labour’s Lord Prescott stepped in to endorse the debate, demonstrating there would likely be a broad cross-party coalition for the development. He said: “The original Northern Way was created by the three Northern Regional Development Agencies in 2004 on my instruction.

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

In Sir David’s report called Rebalancing Britain, he said: "I firmly believe that substantially improved services east-west across the North are not only desirable, but possible. We need to turn the aspiration into a practical plan."

He said the plans were "as important to the north of England as Crossrail is for London" and has said he will help draw up the government’s plans for HS3 by March 2015.