Building of HS2 should start from the North say MPs

The Northern Echo: The proposed HS2 train The proposed HS2 train

THE North must not have to wait 20 years for high-speed rail to arrive, a committee of MPs says today.

The controversial £42.6bn HS2 project is “essential” but building work should start from the North, as well as from London, its report suggests.

The new HS2 chairman is urged to report within 12 months on speeding up work so 225mph trains reach north of Birmingham “well before 2032-33”.

And the report goes further, arguing: “We would also like Sir David Higgins to report on building North to South concurrently with building South to North.”

The all-party transport select committee made the same suggestion back in 2011, an idea dismissed by ministers for having “practical and legal obstacles”.

However, the MPs are encouraged that Sir David, when he appeared before the transport committee, hinted he would look at it again.

HS2 is intended to deliver high-speed trains from London to Birmingham by 2026 – and a Y-shaped network, on to Leeds and Manchester, seven years later.

Through trains will cut the Darlington to London journey time to 1hr 51mins, the department for transport (Dft) says – 32 minutes quicker than at present.

Durham City will be “less than two hours from Birmingham” and the Tees Valley could enjoy new direct rail links to London, by freeing up space on existing lines.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls dropped a bombshell last month, when he warned Labour might withdraw support, even if the budget stays at £42.6bn.

But today’s report backs the Government, insisting: “Only a new line can bring the step change in capacity which is required.

“Bringing high-speed rail to the Northern cities has the potential to transform the nation’s economic geography.”

The committee pointed out the likely cost of HS2 was actually £28bn – not £42.6bn – because the remaining £14. 6bn is a “contingency fund”.

Comments (3)

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1:09am Fri 13 Dec 13

NorthStart says...

HS2 Plan B would be built instead of HS2. It would start North-first not London-first.

Construction would begin with a fast-connector route from Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Rochdale, halving the rail time between the centres of Manchester and Leeds and taking half an hour out of rail times between the networks of East Lancs and those of West Yorks.

The cities joined-up by this Northern Crossrail would, combined, form an urban economic area half as big again as Birmingham.

The Plan B main line would extend north from this Crossrail via Bradford, south via Meadowhall and East Midlands Airport. It would give Manchester and Leeds a second, fast main line to London.

See Plan B website: http://hsnorthstart.
wordpress....

The scheme has a Midlands Crossrail, too. It would extend from west via Wolverhampton and Telford; east via Birmingham and Coventry to join the Plan B main line near Jn.19 of the M1.

The combined main line would continue south to the Eurostar/Thameslink interchange at St Pancras and connect to the London Crossrail at Farringdon and the Southern network at Blackfriars.
HS2 Plan B would be built instead of HS2. It would start North-first not London-first. Construction would begin with a fast-connector route from Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Rochdale, halving the rail time between the centres of Manchester and Leeds and taking half an hour out of rail times between the networks of East Lancs and those of West Yorks. The cities joined-up by this Northern Crossrail would, combined, form an urban economic area half as big again as Birmingham. The Plan B main line would extend north from this Crossrail via Bradford, south via Meadowhall and East Midlands Airport. It would give Manchester and Leeds a second, fast main line to London. See Plan B website: http://hsnorthstart. wordpress.... The scheme has a Midlands Crossrail, too. It would extend from west via Wolverhampton and Telford; east via Birmingham and Coventry to join the Plan B main line near Jn.19 of the M1. The combined main line would continue south to the Eurostar/Thameslink interchange at St Pancras and connect to the London Crossrail at Farringdon and the Southern network at Blackfriars. NorthStart

9:41am Fri 13 Dec 13

David Lacey says...

What on earth has this to do with us? We, in the North East, will NEVER get high speed rail. The proposed HS2 trains will switch to the old rail network near Leeds and then proceed at a stately pace further north. As for the above message - what a daft idea!
What on earth has this to do with us? We, in the North East, will NEVER get high speed rail. The proposed HS2 trains will switch to the old rail network near Leeds and then proceed at a stately pace further north. As for the above message - what a daft idea! David Lacey

10:43am Fri 13 Dec 13

Bill Courtney says...

We have become locked into a “for” or “against” HS2 fight with reputations and narrow vested interests at stake. I suggest that we clear our minds by setting up a “Pre-HS” parliamentary enquiry that asks two background questions:
(i) What are our most likely transport and communication needs during the coming decades?
(ii) What infrastructure is required to meet our predicted needs?

Armed with this information MPs can then vote on HS2, knowing that they are doing their best for future generations.
We have become locked into a “for” or “against” HS2 fight with reputations and narrow vested interests at stake. I suggest that we clear our minds by setting up a “Pre-HS” parliamentary enquiry that asks two background questions: (i) What are our most likely transport and communication needs during the coming decades? (ii) What infrastructure is required to meet our predicted needs? Armed with this information MPs can then vote on HS2, knowing that they are doing their best for future generations. Bill Courtney

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