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18.03.16

HS3 green light welcomed but must include freight investment

The 2016 Budget’s green light and investment for HS3 has been welcomed by campaigners but led to warnings that it needs to include investment for rail freight.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in his speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday that he was giving the green light and £60m funding to HS3.

Lord Adonis, the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, which recommended that the first phase plans for the HS3 network be complete by the end of 2017, also welcomed the announcement.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Support for rail in this Budget is great news for the north of England, which will finally start to see the investment needed to rebalance the decades of neglect of its transport network.”

John Smith, managing director of freight operating company GB Railfreight, said it was “vital” that HS3 includes specific investment to support rail freight.

He said that there is currently suppressed demand to move freight by rail across the Pennines because of a lack of capacity and that future funding should include improvements along the Diggle route and gauge-clearing for intermodal traffic east-west.

(Image c. PA Wire)

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