Plans for HS2, the high-speed rail link linking London to the Midlands and northern England, have been scaled back by the government.
The eastern branch of the line was axed and the Northern Powerhouse Rail link from Manchester to Leeds was downgraded. Boris Johnson faced a backlash over the decision after the government published its integrated rail plan in November 2021.
Huw Merriman, the Tory chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, accused the Prime Minister of ‘selling perpetual sunshine’ but providing ‘moonlight’ instead.
However, Mr Johnson insisted the latest rail plan was a ‘fantastic’ plan and represented the ‘biggest investment in rail for at least 100 years’, worth £96billion.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also denied the government had reneged on promises to improve links for the North and Midlands in its revised rail plan for the region. He insisted the changes would mean faster journeys up to 10 years earlier than expected.
What is HS2?
High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed rail network project to improve transport links between London and major cities in the Midlands and North of England.
In November 2021, the government published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands, detailing how the project would move forward.
The construction of the new railway was divided into three sections: phase 1 linking London and the West Midlands; Phase 2a linking the West Midlands and the North via Crewe; and phase 2b completing the railway to Manchester and Leeds.
High Speed 1 (HS1), the 67-mile railway that connects London to the Channel Tunnel, was fully opened in 2007 at a cost of £5.8billion.
What changes have been made to the HS2 route?
The eastern branch of HS2 which was designed to link the East Midlands and Leeds has been discontinued. Instead, the high-speed line will stop at a new East Midlands Parkway station, around six miles southwest of Nottingham, with HS2 trains then continuing to Sheffield on improved main tracks.
Plans for a new line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford have also been scrapped and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will instead be a combination of new tracks and improvements to existing infrastructure.
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This notice was published: 2022-02-20 13:25:40