HS2 in Hansard 27/10/2014

High Speed 2

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick
McLoughlin): Sir David Higgins, the Chairman of HS2
Ltd, has today presented the Government with his
recommendations on how to transform transport
connectivity in the north. His report,Rebalancing Britain,
has confirmed the Government’s strategy of developing
HS2 is the right one.
In particular, Sir David confirms that the strategic
goal of theYnetwork to link Birmingham to Manchester
and Leeds by high speed rail is right and should be
delivered as quickly as possible.Hemakes recommendations
for some small modifications.
In addition the report says that a new east-west high
speed link could halve journey times between Manchester
and Leeds, transforming the economic geography of
the country.
In response, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor
have today given the green light to develop proposals
for HS3: a high speed rail link designed to bring together
the north’s great cities thereby cutting journey times,
boosting businesses and creating more jobs and security
for hardworking people.
The Government also welcome the report’s
recommendation that co-operation on transport issues
should be formalised in the north. We will create a new
body called Transport for the North (TfN), made up of
the main northern city regions. This body will work
together with other authorities and stakeholders and
allow the north to speak with one voice on the big
decisions, to benefit the region as a whole.
I would like to invite these cities to come together and
work with the Government on the options for HS3,
alongside a wider transport strategy for the north. I
intend that thisGovernment-led strategy will be developed
with input from Network Rail, the Highways Agency as
well as TfN, and will stretch fromLiverpool to Sheffield,
Hull and Newcastle.
I also welcome Sir David’s recommendations on the
modifications to the Y route, and will commission HS2
Ltd to do more work on the route and stations for
phase 2.
This includes further work on Leeds station, south
Yorkshire and east Midlands’ hubs, the approach to
Manchester, the Golborne link, the link to the East
Coast Main Line and proposals for a hub station at
Crewe. We will also continue to look at options for
benefiting those places not directly on the line of route.
On the western leg, the Government’s consideration
of the evidence so far indicates that routing the western
leg via Crewe would be the right strategic option. That
is still to be confirmed. But we will work on ways to
accelerate delivery of the section to Crewe, pending a
decision on the route in 2015.
In turn, I would ask HS2 Ltd to work with Stoke,
Stafford and Macclesfield to enable direct high speed
train services to serve those towns and cities via the
Handsacre junction and classic network.
The report concludes that the route into Manchester
should run via Manchester airport, with decisions on
an airport station to be taken in due course.
It also says that further work is necessary on the
Golborne link, both the route and the depot location.
I will ask HS2 Ltd to continue work on this.
On the eastern leg, the location of the east Midlands
hub needs to work for both Derby and Nottingham,
and provide the best possible connectivity to the wider
region. I am asking HS2 Ltd to continue work on this.
Sir David remains convinced on current evidence that
Sheffield Meadowhall is the right location for the south
Yorkshire hub. I am waiting for further evidence from
Sheffield before a final decision on this.
The Leeds station site needs to work for both improved
east-west connectivity and for HS2. I will request a full
review of options for the station, in conjunction with
Leeds city council.
I will also ask HS2 Ltd to conduct a review into the
cost, and the time it takes to build high speed rail lines,
drawing on international experience, to find ways of
bringing down the cost of phase 2.
We will take decisions on how to take phase 2 forward
in 2015.
We are making good progress on the phase 1 Hybrid
Bill, and we expect to start construction in 2017. This
will improve journey times not only to and from
Birmingham, but to the north and Scotland.
7WS Written Statements 27 OCTOBER 2014 Written Statements 8WS
The Government’s vision is that our high speed rail
network will provide the spine of our 21st century
transport system. The network will bring closer together
the key economic centres in England and Scotland.
“Rebalancing Britain” supports the delivery of our
vision -working with interested organisations and planning
the railway as effectively as possible.