THE government is reconsidering the route of HS2 between Crewe and Manchester and also between Birmingham and Leeds, which are jointly known as Phase 2b.
A consultation has been launched on proposals to use HS2 as a regional route, by providing two new junctions so that Northern Powerhouse Rail services could use HS2 to reach Manchester.
A Parliamentary Bill authorising Phase 2b was delayed for a year in September 2018, although the government denied suggestions that the scheme could be facing the axe. Some Tory candidates to become Prime Minister are known to be opposed to HS2, including Boris Johnson.
HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani has now made a written statement to the House of Commons, in which she said: ‘The proposals I am putting forward today mark another major milestone for HS2 Phase 2b and follow extensive work to ensure that the route offers the best value for taxpayers’ money as well as minimising disruption for residents and impacts on the environment.’
She continued: ‘Design work on the scheme continues and where further change is needed we will consult again ahead of bill deposit. Further scope to support the interfaces with NPR (including at Leeds) and Midlands Connect is currently being considered and is subject to future funding decisions. This consultation also considers some works on the existing rail network that will allow HS2 trains to run between the south and our great northern cities.
‘It is an opportunity for communities affected by all the proposed changes to have their say in how the scheme develops.’
In related news, a third contender for the contract to build the first trains for HS2 has emerged. Talgo revealed last night that it also lodged a bid on 5 June, which was the deadline. It is competing with Alstom and a consortium of Bombardier and Hitachi for the £2.75 billion contract to build at least 54 trains for HS2 Phase 1 between London and Birmingham.