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06.03.13

Wales must connect to HS2, or lose out – Affairs Committee

Plans must be developed to connect Wales to the national high speed rail network, the Welsh Affairs Committee has urged.

In a new report, the committee warns that Wales could lose jobs and economic growth if the region is not fully connected to HS2. The UK and Welsh Governments should work together to develop plans that would connect Wales to the line.

Rail connectivity between North and Mid-Wales and England has been overlooked for too long, the committee added. The DfT should support the Welsh government in developing a business case for the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, the report suggests.

David Davies, chair of the Committee said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to extend the electrification of the Great Western Main Line from Cardiff to Swansea, and to electrify the Valley lines into Cardiff.

“These are both issues that we have pursued with vigour in recent years and it is good to see these improvements that will benefit passengers and increase economic and employment opportunities throughout Wales.

“However, it is disappointing that Wales has so far been excluded from plans for the high speed rail network developing across the UK. The UK and Welsh Governments should now begin to address this.” 

Greengauge 21 director Jim Steer said: “With the plans for HS2 now being extended from London and the Midlands to the north of England, and with the Scottish Government also developing its HSR plans, it is crucial for the economic development of Wales to be part of the HSR revolution. Wales must not get left behind.

“The strategy developed by Greengauge 21 and the Great Western Partnership is an achievable and affordable way of making sure Wales is brought into the national HSR network – a strategy that brings early gains that are so important to investor confidence in the wider economy, as well as long term benefits.

“It builds on the existing plans for GWML electrification, new trains and a western rail connection to Heathrow to make sure that Wales too can benefit from the Government's major investment in HS2.

“The recent incorporation of Crewe into the HS2 Phase 2 plans also provides an opportunity to spread the benefits of HS2 across the North Wales economy.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. Arriva Trains Wales

Comments

Mikeyb   06/03/2013 at 20:36

Is the Welsh Affairs Committee asking for the construction of a spur from HS2 at Crewe, to cut right through to the North Wales coast or are they just suggesting that the classic line via Chester should be electrified? In my opinion, any future infrastructure development in the North West must include a high speed spur to Liverpool via Warrington and, indeed, electrification of the North Wales Coast line.

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