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Maynard: HS2 will not deliver full potential unless east-west links improved

Rail minister Paul Maynard has reiterated that HS2’s full potential will not be fully delivered unless east-west rail links are properly improved as well, despite recent claims that plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NRP), or HS3, have gone down the government’s priority list.

During a parliamentary debate on the Phase 2b route of HS2, Rachael Maskell, the MP for York Central, stated: “There is real disappointment among Labour members at the government’s strategy of late around rail, full stop. They are turning off the power in the north and we are not going to see the investment in HS3 that we were promised to make sure that there was east-west connectivity.

“We must recognise the need for investment in rail. We need to decongest the current networks and ensure better connectivity as we move forward, but not at any cost.”

In response, Maynard argued that work on east-west links across the north have not stopped.

“I met only the other week with both Network Rail and Transport for the North (TfN) to talk about how they are bringing forward NPR,” he said. “I have always argued that HS2’s full potential will not be fully delivered unless we properly improve east-west links as well.

“It is not for me to determine the engineering solution that Network Rail will alight on for any particular line or stretch of line, but that work is ongoing—on a cross-party basis, as TfN is also ​governed by Labour local government leaders across the north, who are also setting the objectives. That seems to me to be how things should be taken forward.”

Discussing the HS2 Phase 2 route, he added that it is “fair to say that between Crewe and Manchester every route option presents risks and issues”.

“It is a matter of balancing those carefully and working out which offers the optimum solution. We carefully weighed those matters both in 2013, when we listened to concerns, and on the now-confirmed 2016 route. On our assessment those risks were more manageable on the latest version of the route,” said the minister.

He also stated that re-siting of the rolling stock depot to Wimboldsley has taken into account both the potential risks of the previous site in Golborne, which saw the demolition of a Grade I listed property, and the potential impacts in Wimboldsley.

“The site is strategically located on the HS2 network, south of the Manchester junction, so that it can receive empty trains from both the HS2 main line – from Preston and indeed further north – and the HS2 Manchester spur,” Maynard argued. “It is also located at the point where the line deviates from the existing West Coast Main Line, so it is also well placed to receive empty HS2 trains from Liverpool. Other locations around Basford and Crewe are less proximate to where empty trains from Liverpool and Manchester might be coming from.

“Furthermore, significantly less infrastructure is required at this location than if it were at Golborne. In particular, there is no need for a northern chord from Manchester out to the HS2 junction. That reduces the overall infrastructure development requirements in the area and, indeed, creates more space in the HS2 budget for other mitigation elsewhere on this stretch of the route.”

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Graham Nalty   09/09/2017 at 11:02

At last a Minister who actually says something sensible about HS2 without the usual useless spin we are accustomed. But the real point is that HS2 Ltd. has already taken many decisions, often against the advice of local people, that will seriously compromise the ability of whole network to work well at interchanges. In Sheffield, HS2 Ltd. has forced their view against the views of Sheffield City Council and chamber of Commerce who wanted Sheffield to be on part of the network, not at the end of a spur.

Simon Eames1990   13/09/2017 at 22:17

HS2 will not deliver any potential at all.

Chrism   16/09/2017 at 02:09

Graham, Sheffield City Council wanted direct HS2 trains services calling in the city centre, They got what they wanted with bells on - two trains an hour, over 1,000 seats. David Higgins played a blinder and in the process he saved £900 million of taxpayer's hard-earned money. It was an excellent decision. Simon, a train delivers people to places. HS2 will do a great job in that respect. Potential is up to the people who will benefit from faster, longer and more frequent services - HS2 delivers all three in spades!

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