Rail industry data has reacted angrily to the Transport Secretary indicating the scrapping of the eastern phase of HS2.
The current £100bn high-speed rail project follows plans laid out in 2009 by the last Labor Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis. It proposes a Y-shaped link from London to Birmingham with a western branch to Crewe and Manchester and an eastern branch. For Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds.
Work on the London–Birmingham section is already well underway, and the administrative groundwork for North West England is being laid.
The Eastern leg, due to be completed by 2040, will provide connections to the existing East Coast Main Line beyond Leeds to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
but in an interview with financial Times, Grant Shapps appeared to suggest the eastern leg – also known as HS2 phase 2b – may never be built.
He said: “We want to make sure that we get trains to Leeds in a way that really benefits the people on the network and not blindly follow a plan invented 15 to 20 years ago that is no longer available to people. does not benefit.”
Mr Shapps said: “The Midlands Rail Hub and Northern Powerhouse are rail things, they were invented, they weren’t when the HS2 was first designed.
“We need to make these things work together. Are we doing things in the best possible way and in the right order?”
It appears that trains are being extended from Manchester to Leeds via the new Trans-Pennine high-speed line, dubbed HS3, from London. It would not offer any benefit to passengers between London, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Nor will it cut the current Birmingham-Leeds travel time by about two hours. The HS2’s target time is 46 minutes for the 116-mile journey between the two cities.
Senior rail figures have come with growing concern that the government’s support for the eastern phase of the project has decreased.
Nigel Harris, Editor rail The magazine said: “There is no doubt: eliminating HS2 phase 2b would be disastrous for transport and decarbonisation.”
Gareth Davis, a railway engineer and author, tweeted: “The eastern part of HS2 is the most important section of the new line.
“Without it, HS2 remains a bypass for the West Coast Main Line, widely reducing its benefits for the entire country.”
Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon, said: “People in the North, Midlands and beyond are well aware of the Tories’ record of failure on transport – as it affects their daily lives.
“Endlessly abandoning years-old promises won’t cut it.”
A Department for Transport (DFT) spokesperson said: “The Integrated Rail Plan will soon outline how major rail projects including HS2 Phase 2B and other transformational projects such as the Northern Powerhouse Rail will work together to provide reliable train services. Travelers to the North and Midlands need and deserve it.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /