Latest Rail News

23.03.16

HS2 Bill expected to pass final reading in House of Commons today

HS2 is set to come a significant step closer today after the HS2 Bill has its third reading, allowing it to pass through the House of Commons.

The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill will be put before parliament today after Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Independent reported last week that Labour is expected to whip MPs into supporting the Bill, meaning it will almost certainly pass without opposition.

Writing for The Times Red Box, Lilian Greenwood, the shadow transport secretary, said: “Faster journey times will transform Britain’s transport connectivity, but the urgent need for extra capacity on our creaking Victorian railways has always been the core argument for investing in a new rail line.

“After more than three years I’ll be glad to see HS2 Phase One complete its Commons’ stages – because the extra capacity it will deliver can’t come soon enough.”

Leaders of ten core city councils wrote to MPs on Monday to support the Bill.

The Scottish and English governments announced on Monday that they expect work on HS2 to begin next year, ultimately allowing journeys from London to Scotland in less than four hours.

Ahead of the debate, environmental campaign group Enough’s Enough wrote to MPs, saying: “HS2 is ridiculously expensive, unfit for purpose and enormously destructive.

“Please vote against HS2 and pursue a truly connected, less expensive and destructive solution to the UK's rail needs.”

The Bill has been subject to extensive debate and review in the House of Commons, including by the High Speed Rail Committee, whose final report included a number of recommendations to improve the service, including a longer Chilterns bored tunnel, greater noise protection for Wendover, better construction arrangements in Hillingdon, and a re-modelled maintenance depot at Washwood Heath.

Debate on Bills at the third reading stage is short and MPs are not allowed to propose amendments. The Bill will then pass to the House of Lords for the next stage before it becomes law.

A new report from the public administration and constitutional affairs committee today accused HS2 of 'defensive communication and misinformation' in its dealings with the public.

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