Scrapping HS2 would be ‘mad’–McLoughlin
Former transport secretary and Chief Whip Sir Patrick McLoughlin has warned his hardline colleagues competing to be Prime Minister that if they want the job, they must back HS2. He was visiting railway industry firms in Derby, including Bombardier, as part of the Railway Industry Association’s Rail Fellowship Programme. Sir Patrick said: ‘Our rail industry is of vital importance to the UK economy and as demand grows, the Government must ensure its ambition continues to grow with it. HS2 is a prime example of rail being put at the heart of our economic strategy. As transport secretary I was proud to back HS2, and every candidate running to be the next Prime Minister should back it as well. This is a crucial project which is delivering jobs, connectivity, and enhanced capacity for the rail network. Frankly I think it would be mad to consider scrapping it.’ At least two of the candidates, Boris Johnson and Esther McVey, have vowed to scrap the scheme if they get to Number Ten, but HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani disagrees. She said: ‘It’s a critical infrastructure project. It’s supported by all three political parties. Any large infrastructure project of this scale is going to face challenges.’
Disruption kept quiet
Third-party ticket retailers have come under fire for continuing to sell tickets for journeys on the East Coast Main Line over the August Bank Holiday weekend, when two major engineering possessions will disrupt services. One is at London King’s Cross, which will close so that additional lines can be laid. There will be no services to King’s Cross from Peterborough or Cambridge, and local services to Moorgate will also be suspended. A separate possession at Newark means that most LNER trains will be diverted between Doncaster and Peterborough via Lincoln. East Midlands Trains will also be affected, and replacement buses will run on the routes between Nottingham and Lincoln and between Newark North Gate and Lincoln. National Rail Enquiries is advising passengers not to travel, but the third-party retailers have so far played down the disruption and continued to sell tickets, although routeing details on Trainline do reflect the diversions. Transport Focus has written to Trainline, urging it to include a warning. LNER said it had raised the matter ‘repeatedly’ and the Office of Rail and Road is now investigating. Trainline says it will start to display clear warnings by the end of this week.
Network Rail has published its proposals for a series of potential changes to the railway through south Devon. Views are being sought from residents, communities, businesses and rail users in Dawlish and Teignmouth as part of a public consultation which runs for five weeks until 15 July. Network Rail said the 1.8km stretch of railway between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth, which was closed for six weeks following a landslide in 2014, needs to be ‘better protected from cliff falls, land slips and damage caused by the sea during extreme weather’. The cliffs pose the greatest threat to the line, so the proposals include moving the railway away from the sections of cliff that pose the greatest hazard.