Government declines to confirm HS2 to Manchester

The Prime Minister has refused to say whether HS2 will still be built north of Birmingham to Crewe and Manchester, following the revelation that talks have been held with the Chancellor over the past few days about reducing the scheme still further. The original plan has already lost the section to Leeds, which is now set to terminate at East Midlands Parkway, while work on the new high speed station at London Euston has been paused for at least the next two years. The latest uncertainty has dismayed politicians in north west England. The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: ‘Why should it be the North of England that pays the price? What we are going to end up with here is in the southern half of the country, a modern, high-speed rail network, and the northern half of the country left with crumbling Victorian infrastructure. That won't level us up, it will do the exact opposite. Let’s have an honest conversation about it.’ Work is continuing on the line between Old Oak Common in west London and Birmingham. A spokesman for the Prime Minister would not be drawn on the fate of the Manchester line, saying only: ‘Spades are already in the ground on our HS2 programme and we're focused on delivering it.’

Tramline extended

Trams will start running to Wolverhampton station on Sunday. West Midlands Metro has been extended from its original Wolverhampton terminus at St George’s, on the fringe of the city centre, to Piper’s Row and on to the city’s recently modernised National Rail station. The new services will provide direct interchanges with buses as well as trains. The development has been led by Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, working with construction and design partner Midland Metro Alliance, operator Midland Metro Ltd and the City of Wolverhampton Council.

Penalties rise

Penalty fares are increasing on Manchester trams. The fare for travelling without a ticket or pass on Metrolink is going up to £120 from 24 September as part of continuing efforts to combat fraudulent travel. Transport for Greater Manchester said tickets would be checked by dozens of additional Customer Service Representatives.

Airport boost

Trains will start running every 15 minutes to Stansted Airport all day once again from 10 December, when new timetables start. The service was reduced in response to the Covid pandemic, but Greater Anglia had already restored four trains an hour during the peaks. This frequency will now continue during the rest of the day and also at weekends. Greater Anglia said passenger numbers at London Stansted Airport have been increasing.

Transpennine MD

The interim managing director of TransPennine express Chris Jackson has been confirmed as managing director. The appointment took effect yesterday. He had been in charge at TPE since the operator was nationalised on 28 May. 

New station

Network Rail has awarded the second of two contracts to build the new station for the Beaulieu development at Chelmsford to J Murphy & Sons Ltd. The award follows an agreement between Network Rail and Essex County Council to complete the work. The £124 million contract includes main construction on behalf of Essex County Council and also Chelmsford City Council.

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