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‘Argument has been won for HS2,’ says McLoughlin

The argument for HS2 has been won and construction on the full ‘Y’ network, from London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, will start in just two years, the transport secretary has said.

In his first speech since the election, Patrick McLoughlin MP told northern and Midlands leaders at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday: “The general election result was a massive vote of confidence in favour of HS2.”

He confirmed that £13bn in government funding will be invested to transform transport infrastructure in the north over the next five years – better connecting the region.

McLoughlin also added that by the autumn, Transport for the North (TfN) – the body established by the government to work with it on delivering a Northern Transport Strategy – will have a new independent chair.

He said the chair would be able to speak on behalf of the north with “one voice” on delivering improved train and bus services, rolling out smart ticketing, looking after passengers, reducing road congestion and speeding up links to ports and airports.

“Nothing is more important to this government than a healthy economy which benefits all working people,” stated McLoughlin. “It means rebalancing our economy and building the Northern Powerhouse. We will not waste a moment getting on with the task.”

During his speech, he confirmed that rolling out a national high-speed rail network – both HS2 and east to west links – would be at the centre of the government’s plans

“And we are moving forward with plans for new high-speed rail links, running right across the north, from Liverpool in the west, to Hull in the east,” said the transport secretary. “It will slash journey times, provide a substantial boost to capacity and help bind the north together as a single, powerful economic force. We believe in the power of transport to change things.”

The Labour transport team criticised McLoughlin’s speech on Twitter, saying:

(Image source: HS2 Ltd)

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


John   02/06/2015 at 16:18

No, the argument has not been won at all, because key questions about the costs build up and the details into what goes for Consultancies, Legal Fees and Cash Property deals remain unanswered! I'd love to support it but feel unable to until the questions get answered and if that makes some politicians uncomfortable with revealing the slush funds, then, Tough!

David   02/06/2015 at 17:03

What would the man lying in a grave in St Wilfred's Parish Church, Northenden,Manchester have to say that great visionary Sir Edward Watkin ?

Joe   03/06/2015 at 09:47

A report by the House of Lords found this would benefit London more than the North. Many towns were shown to lose economic value as a result such as Leicester. The would be considered poor value for money compared to other rail projects with 100,000 jobs created for nearly £50bn, very costly for each job. Will it boost capacity? On WCML if Coventry, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Milton Keynes are to keep services (which is doubtful) no spare capacity can be made. And East Coast services from Doncaster and Midland services from Leicester need keeping. HS2 is poorly connected to the existing network at Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester Airport etc. It will be a railway for rich commuters from second homes outside of London. I also doubt the Eastern leg will be built. HS3 is to replace Leeds section. Birmingham may be end of the line altogether. If this was to help North than why not start North first??

Steve   03/06/2015 at 15:05

There's an alternative that benefits many more city pairs: HS-UK. It's a south-north spine with branches - which would protect the service levels to Coventry, Wolverhampton, etc., at lower costs than HS2. Why hasn't it been properly evaluated?

Transtraxman   03/06/2015 at 19:13

The only part of HS2 which needs to be built is that which runs from London to Birmingham to provide more capacity on the London - Midland lines. Then the ECML(to Doncaster and Newcastle) and the MML(to Sheffield and Leeds) need to be upgraded to four tracks along their whole lengths. Upgrade the WCML to four track, reducing bends,and increasing the gauge(from Nuneaton to Preston at least) and therefore you obviate the need for the second phases of HS2. All this would be at a much reduced cost since the investment would have to be made whether or not HS2 is built. So much more can be done for the travelling public than spending on unnecessary vainglorious projects.

Lesf   03/06/2015 at 22:26

It would not be necessary for Mr McLoughlin to claim that the "argument for HS2 has been won" if it were not perfectly obvious that it hasn't; his own government's committee has told him that the case has not been made. Parliament will decide whether to waste £70bn or come to its senses and make the crumbling HS2 into something actually worth building.

John   05/06/2015 at 13:26

The Government's economic case for HS2 does not hold and independent studies have failed to find an economic case either. Why is the Government determined to create another Concorde that burdens the taxpayer and will only be useful to a minority who may be able to afford its taxpayer-subsidised fares? The claim that the election gave a mandate for HS2 is derisory. It's not too late to cut losses and invest these huge sums in better projects. The Government should do so. The rail industry has more important and more urgent work to do.

Graham Nalty   05/06/2015 at 17:46

I do not think the argument for HS2 has been won. It is slowly being lost because its flaws are becoming more and more obvious. There is absolutely no way that the opposition to the ill-advised route through the Chilterns is diminishing. No one at HS2 Ltd. is prepared to examine the much better route from London via the M1 and they block all discussion with unsubstantiated reasons.The problems of building a terminus at Euston are becoming more and more apparent. The folly of building parkways stations that lose jobs for the areas they serve is only now being fully realised thanks to outstanding good work by Stoke on Trent and Sheffield City Councils. The proposed stations at Crewe and Birmingham Curzon Street at 'white elephants' that will not help to grow the railway. And Sir David Higgins comments to the House of Lords Committee on why he prefers Meadowhall are a perfect example of the wrong reasons for making an important decision.

Gb   05/06/2015 at 18:25

I do not recollect one politician advocating the building of HS2 throughout the election process. In fact its omission was startling for such a major potential expense. Could it be that no-one was prepared to stick his or her neck out for fear it might be cancelled or postponed in the not too distant future - probably until after repayment of the country's 'debt' - which is far more important. By all means invest in our railways but in a more targetted manner such as replacing the missing 12 miles or so of the MR line between Peak Forest and Matlock thus re-establishing the Manchester to St Pancras route and alleviating the WCML. Reconsideration of the GCR route for freight at least would help too plus re-instating all those lines which we regret were severed in the 1960s. Skipton to Colne, for example which would additionally provide a further transpennine route. And when will the city of Ripon get its railway back. The list could be easily expanded to cover a dozen more popular rail projects than HS2 which during construction, will inflict misery on thousands who will not be able use it! I find the case unproven.

Al   06/06/2015 at 00:44

No one wants this railway,its yet another Government white elephant,which is using more of our money to fund,when we have debts of trillions ect. put Britains finances and people first,instead of spending money that the British people have no say on The only reason they want to push it through is to transfer more work to London,and move industry from the North,they have no interest in what the jo public wants,otherwise they would stop foreign aid,close the borders and tell the EU where to go.

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