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Liverpool launches campaign to bring HS2 to the city

A united campaign has been launched in an attempt to bring high speed rail to the Liverpool City Region.

The High Speed Rail – Linking Liverpool campaign claims that by changing the current route plans for HS2, which bypass the region, there could be an £8.3bn boost to the local economy and the opportunity to create up to 14,000 new jobs.

Cllr Phil Davies, chair of the Combined Authority of councils across the city region and Merseyside, said: “Delivering full high speed rail connectivity into Liverpool city centre is vital not just for the city itself but for the whole City Region and beyond.

“This City Region-wide campaign builds on the excellent work already being undertaken by Liverpool City Council, Merseytravel and the business-led 20 Miles More campaign, adding to the united voices making the case for linking Liverpool to full high speed rail.”

The current route for the western leg of HS2 phase two starts from the London to West Midlands section near Lichfield, heads north west past Stafford, to Crewe, crosses the M6 and then the M56, and heads up past Warrington. There are connections to the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe and south of Wigan, with the Manchester stations served by a spur running roughly parallel with the M56 towards Manchester Airport. HS2 chairman David Higgins has argued in his HS2 Plus report for a new hub at Crewe by 2027, and better east-west connectivity.

However, the Liverpool campaigners argue that better, faster connectivity to Liverpool through high speed rail could encourage even more people to take holidays in the city and surrounding areas, or start them there. In numbers they forecast an additional 723,000 visitors, spending around £87m, would support around 1,740 extra jobs and £66m in annual GVA.

Andrew Morris, director of business organisation 20 Miles More, said: “There's no doubt that bringing high speed rail into Liverpool will have enormous benefits for the City Region, and we have been working with our partners to gather support and make the case.

"The High Speed Rail - Linking Liverpool campaign will build on this work and we will back any initiative which will strengthen the City Region's prospects of benefiting from high speed rail and the connectivity it will bring."

RTM spoke to HS2 Ltd about the campaign and was told that “we will be publishing more detail on the Phase Two route later this year”.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Martin Sloman   04/08/2014 at 21:21

Liverpool must be on the high speed rail network to maintain its economic renaissance. Exclusion from the network would mean uncompetitive journey times, lack of train and route capacity and reduced opportunities for developing new passenger and freight capacity, something essential for the new Liverpool Superport. To exclude such a large and strategic city from the network is a major failing of the present HS2 proposals and makes a mockery of the objective of 'rebalancing the economy'.

Christopher Griffiths   04/08/2014 at 22:30

Mr Sloman is absolutely right. The enormous benefits of HS2 to the home of inter-city rail would translate into equally massive benefits for the North West, North Wales and rest of the UK. Liverpool's inclusion significantly improves the overall CBR of HS2 and, frankly, it's exclusion to date can only be attributed to political expedience on the part of the DfT and rank incompetence on the part of HS2 Ltd. Liverpool always featured in Network Rail's draft proposal for a national high speed network, so it's great to see the push towards a more holistic and effective result finally gain some traction. HS2 direct to Liverpool is a no brainer; it is also the logical springing point for HS3 across the breadth of N England. Hopefully the key decision makers will wise up to reality, interrogate the correct data in a fair and transparent way and come to obvious conclusion that Liverpool must form a part of the captive HS2 network.

Steve Ranklin   04/08/2014 at 22:59

I am pleased to see the Liverpool councils now stating their case for HS2, however I have to say I find the facts disturbing. All along we have been told that the need for HS2 is based on evidence. Hence a reasonable assumption might have been that Liverpool had been thoroughly investigated and it not being included in the plans was based on it not being economical to do so. The figures now being bandied about on the Liverpool side, bearing in mind they have had an official report commissioned, don't just show a marginal case, they show a stonking great massive case. Couple that with the freight issue (I believe that HS2 doesn't release any freight capacity from Liverpool?) That can only raise a question, which I think more and more people are starting to now ask, which is "Why on earth was Liverpool not on the line from word go?" Cities don't go from "basket case" to "wonder boy" overnight, and looking at the details Liverpool has been the UK's fastest growing economy for the past decade. How could this stonking great case come out of the blue? I think questions need to be asked and there needs to be some explaining. And putting things right. How was the evidence collected, what was the scope of the project. Were HS2 told which cities to connect, and how? Such direction would all too easily be influenced by municipal lobbying and self interest, as well as daft personal or political dislikes. For such a monumental piece of infrastructure, with such profound potential impact, every day that Liverpool is sidelined leaves me feeling increasingly uneasy.

Lesf   08/08/2014 at 15:14

Your commentators are right about Liverpool but the same can be said about the other by-passed cities such as Stoke, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Leicester. This is the inevitable result of designing HS2 as a segregated railway (and if you doubt that, refer to HS2's own words: "HS2 will be a largely segregated railway"). Now try a different route integrated into the network so there are at least 10 times as many city-city connections, with none of them getting a worse service than now, and you have a railway actually worth building, unlike the abysmally inadequate HS2. Just how HS2 has been allowed to progress so far in the face of condemnation from a wide variety of senior industry figures and respected bodies, remains a mystery. How much longer must the madness go on?

Johnbradley   09/08/2014 at 21:30

Some of the plans that have been put forward for HS2 connections to Liverpool

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