Proposals for West Coast to benefit from HS2 six years before East Coast

Hs2

Hs2

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

A PROPOSAL to deliver the high-speed rail project six years earlier on the West Coast – but not on the East Coast – raised alarm today.

Business leaders in the North-East criticised a call by the HS2 chief to speed up the scheme on only one side of England, between Birmingham and Manchester.

Sir David Higgins proposed a 43-mile stretch to Crewe should be built by 2027, rather than 2033 – something Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin immediately vowed to investigate.

It is the first time the Government has suggested building one leg of the ‘Y-shaped’ network before the other, between Birmingham and Leeds and on to York.

Through trains will then cut the Darlington to London journey time to 1hr 51mins, say HS2 supporters – 32 minutes quicker than at present – but not until 2033.

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.

The North-East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) said it feared greater priority was, once again, being given to the North West over Yorkshire and the North-East.

Mark Stephenson, the NECC’s policy team leader, said: “This continuing focus on the west side of the country, rather than the east side, is not sustainable.

“The West Coast line has already received ten times more investment over the last 15 years than the East Coast, which is now under huge pressure – not least from freight.”

Mr Stephenson said the report, called 'HS2 Plus', also had nothing to say about bringing 225mph trains all the way to the North-East, adding: “That’s the important thing.”

Publishing his long-awaited study yesterday, Sir David was under fierce pressure to speed up work across the North, as well as cut the £42.6bn cost of the project.

The HS2 chairman did call for preparatory work on Phase Two – north of Birmingham – to be speeded up, suggesting the entire scheme could be completed by 2030.

But his only specific proposal was to get to Crewe by 2027, “allowing faster journeys sooner to Manchester and the rest of the North-West”.

It falls far short of the call, by the all-party transport select committee, for building work to start from the North, as well as from London.

Meanwhile, Mr McLoughlin backed Sir David’s call to drop a planned link between HS2 and HS1, the Channel Tunnel high-speed link, as too disruptive in north London.

The decision means it will not be possible to get on a train in the North and travel seamlessly to the Continent, as originally proposed.

Sir David also challenged politicians – including high-profile Labour sceptics – to get behind HS2, saying: “This project is too big to become a political football.”

If done correctly, the project would “address the issues of congestion in the South and lack of connectivity in the North”, he said.

Comments (6)

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5:54pm Mon 17 Mar 14

gramps427 says...

Its a pointless exercise because the claimed reduction in travel time from Darlington would be lost very easily in the change over time from train to train and possibly station to station! the time to London on the East Coast mainline will improve over the development of better trains and improved points/track gear. HS2 is a waste of space except for the pockets of the builders and the City Elite. We would be better served by connecting Tees Valley Airport to London reversing the decision to steal our route by Lufthansa.
Its a pointless exercise because the claimed reduction in travel time from Darlington would be lost very easily in the change over time from train to train and possibly station to station! the time to London on the East Coast mainline will improve over the development of better trains and improved points/track gear. HS2 is a waste of space except for the pockets of the builders and the City Elite. We would be better served by connecting Tees Valley Airport to London reversing the decision to steal our route by Lufthansa. gramps427
  • Score: 2

6:10pm Mon 17 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

I think the full story was that if a section was accelerated then the overall cost would be reduced.
Don't worry about the facts Robert when you can get a good old North - South divide debate going eh!!!
I think the full story was that if a section was accelerated then the overall cost would be reduced. Don't worry about the facts Robert when you can get a good old North - South divide debate going eh!!! laboursfoe
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Mon 17 Mar 14

MAGPIES12 says...

WELL NO CHANGE THERE THEN ..THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND HAS ALWAYS ..BEEN LEFT OUT IN THE COLD ..BEHIND THE DOOR SO TO SPEAK BY PARLIAMENT BUSINESSES AND THE MEDIA
ITS ALL LONDON LONDON LONDON
AND THAT LEAVES A REALLY BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH
ESPECIALLY WHEN I REMEMBER THE BLOODY RAILWAYS STARTED HERE RIGHT HEAR IN MY HOME TOWN ..
BLOODY UN BELIEVABLE ....
AS FOR THE NORTH SOUTH DIVIDE ....ITS ALWAYS BEEN THERE
ALTHOUGH SOME HEAD IN THE SAND FOOLS WILL DENY IT .
EVIDENCE FIR THE DIVIDE IS SELF EVIDENT . PERSONALLY
I THINK ITS ABSOLUTE LUNACY IN A COUNTRY AS HARD UP AS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ..TO SPEND CIRCA 50 BLN
JUST TO ALLOW A FEW RICH FOLKS TO GET FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER A WHACKING GREAT 40 MINUTES EARLIER/FASTER
AND THAT'S IF ALL GOES WELL AND IT INVARIABLY DOESN'T .
THINK AGAIN THINK ABOUT WHAT ELSE YOU COULD DO WITH 40 - 50 BILLION POUND PERHAPS RE EMPLOY ALL THE NHS STAFF
TO LOOK AFTER THE NATIONS HEALTH
HANG ON DONT NEED 40-50 BLN FOR THAT SO BILLIONS LEFT OVER FOR OTHER THINGS ..PERHAPS THINGS THAT WILL BENEFIT THE WHOLE POPULATION NOT JUST A FEW DOPEY ETONIAN TORY A HOLES. .. WITH THERE... "I AM ALRIGHT JACK FK YOU" ATTITUDE.
LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE I HAVE DONE OK RETIRED NOW OWN HOUSE ETC.. BUT" I CAME FROM REALLY HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
SO WE SHOULD NEVER KNOCK OTHERS ..
WELL NO CHANGE THERE THEN ..THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND HAS ALWAYS ..BEEN LEFT OUT IN THE COLD ..BEHIND THE DOOR SO TO SPEAK BY PARLIAMENT BUSINESSES AND THE MEDIA ITS ALL LONDON LONDON LONDON AND THAT LEAVES A REALLY BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH ESPECIALLY WHEN I REMEMBER THE BLOODY RAILWAYS STARTED HERE RIGHT HEAR IN MY HOME TOWN .. BLOODY UN BELIEVABLE .... AS FOR THE NORTH SOUTH DIVIDE ....ITS ALWAYS BEEN THERE ALTHOUGH SOME HEAD IN THE SAND FOOLS WILL DENY IT . EVIDENCE FIR THE DIVIDE IS SELF EVIDENT . PERSONALLY I THINK ITS ABSOLUTE LUNACY IN A COUNTRY AS HARD UP AS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ..TO SPEND CIRCA 50 BLN JUST TO ALLOW A FEW RICH FOLKS TO GET FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER A WHACKING GREAT 40 MINUTES EARLIER/FASTER AND THAT'S IF ALL GOES WELL AND IT INVARIABLY DOESN'T . THINK AGAIN THINK ABOUT WHAT ELSE YOU COULD DO WITH 40 - 50 BILLION POUND PERHAPS RE EMPLOY ALL THE NHS STAFF TO LOOK AFTER THE NATIONS HEALTH HANG ON DONT NEED 40-50 BLN FOR THAT SO BILLIONS LEFT OVER FOR OTHER THINGS ..PERHAPS THINGS THAT WILL BENEFIT THE WHOLE POPULATION NOT JUST A FEW DOPEY ETONIAN TORY A HOLES. .. WITH THERE... "I AM ALRIGHT JACK FK YOU" ATTITUDE. LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE I HAVE DONE OK RETIRED NOW OWN HOUSE ETC.. BUT" I CAME FROM REALLY HUMBLE BEGINNINGS SO WE SHOULD NEVER KNOCK OTHERS .. MAGPIES12
  • Score: 0

6:47am Tue 18 Mar 14

stevegg says...

This project is a complete waste of money and is only being pushed forward to avoid damaging the ego's of those behind it. This money should be invested in upgrading the existing rail network not on a couple of lines which will save only half an hour to get to london at a probable true cost in reality of £100 billion (once the inevitable overspends, delays are factored in) and its still decades away.
This project is a complete waste of money and is only being pushed forward to avoid damaging the ego's of those behind it. This money should be invested in upgrading the existing rail network not on a couple of lines which will save only half an hour to get to london at a probable true cost in reality of £100 billion (once the inevitable overspends, delays are factored in) and its still decades away. stevegg
  • Score: 2

7:56am Tue 18 Mar 14

Graeme_r says...

The fact that the govt have tried to prevent a report questioning the validity of the hs2 business case being published speaks volumes
The fact that the govt have tried to prevent a report questioning the validity of the hs2 business case being published speaks volumes Graeme_r
  • Score: 1

12:27pm Tue 18 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

Good comments above. HS2 is NOT designed to help the true north (beyond Leeds and Manchester, including Scotland). It is intended to turn Birmingham into a suburb of London, within easy commuting distance. Even if Phase 2 goes ahead - not certain - it ends at the aforementioned cities. Thereafter the HS2 trains will switch to the existing lines and run at 125mph. We have been well and truly dumped on the rubbish heap.
Good comments above. HS2 is NOT designed to help the true north (beyond Leeds and Manchester, including Scotland). It is intended to turn Birmingham into a suburb of London, within easy commuting distance. Even if Phase 2 goes ahead - not certain - it ends at the aforementioned cities. Thereafter the HS2 trains will switch to the existing lines and run at 125mph. We have been well and truly dumped on the rubbish heap. David Lacey
  • Score: 2

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