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Monday, 28 July 2014

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‘HS2 must go to the north’

THE government is duty bound to extend a high-speed rail link into the north, an MP has claimed.

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HIT THE NORTH: An artist’s impression of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the proposed route for the HS2 rail scheme

Shadow transport secretary John Woodcock said he believes the coalition government must ensure the plans for the £32 billion rail link reach beyond Birmingham.

His comments came as the former Labour minister who first announced the scheme accused the government of “treading water” over the issue.

A government-commissioned report has given the clearest indication yet the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail project will go ahead.

The report claims improvements to the existing West Coast Mainlines would fail to tackle overcrowding on the route and would cause long periods of disruption.

HS2 envisages a high-speed line built initially between London and Birmingham, to be completed around 2026, with a second phase extending the line to north-east and north-west England by around 2032/33.

A decision on the project is expected this week.

Barrow and Furness MP Mr Woodcock said: “We think that there’s a clear economic benefit of bringing the economies of England closer together.

“(The government) should be making a clear commitment to take the route right the way to Manchester and Leeds.

“This was a Labour project and it was our commitment to take forward.

“We are strongly urging the government to do the right thing, while they have our support to do the right thing for the north, and legislate now to go right the way up there.”

Lord Adonis, who announced the plans as Labour transport secretary two years ago, accused the government of “dithering” over a decision on the project.

He wrote in The Times yesterday: “The only thing high-speed about the development of HS2 in Britain is the treading of water... No other infrastructure project matches HS2 in nationwide benefits.”

Have your say

Not a very high speed line is it! Twenty years to get from Manchester to London? The Victorians would have managed it a hell of a lot quicker, and probably with greater consideration for the environment, and certainly with UK contractors!

No doubt HS2 will be late, over budget, environmentally damaging, and the construction project and operating franchises will be awarded to foreign companies.

Posted by Matt Sanderson on 10 January 2012 at 16:27

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