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HS2 rail line to Crewe will open 6 years ahead of schedule

30 November 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

HS2 rail link connecting Birmingham to Crewe will open 6 years ahead of schedule in 2027, confirmed Chancellor George Osborne on 30 November 2015.

HS2 rail line to Crewe will open 6 years ahead of schedule

Proposed HS2 North West Hub at Crewe (Image: Farrells).

The Chancellor has confirmed a new high speed rail link connecting Birmingham in central England and Crewe in the northwest will open 6 years ahead of schedule in 2027. The programme is part of the Chancellors Northern Powerhouse initiative developed to provide a major economic boost to Northern England, the Midlands and Scotland, whilst slashing journey times and increasing capacity on the existing busy railway network. Plans also include a major rail hub at Crewe.

The Chancellor also confirmed the government’s commitment to the full ‘Y-shaped’ network servicing Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Once Phase 2a has opened in 2027, the reduced journey times delivered by HS2 phases 1 and 2a will be:

  • Crewe to London will be cut by 35 minutes
  • Manchester to London will be cut by 40 minutes
  • Glasgow to London will save 48 minutes

HS2 rail line to Crewe will open 6 years ahead of schedule

Government commits to delivering HS2 within £55.7 billion budget

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering the whole of HS2, within the £55.7 billion budget set out in the 2015 Spending Review where the Chancellor increased Network Rail’s 5-year budget by £2.5bn.

The Chancellor has also announced the appointment of former Director General of the CBI, John Cridland, as the first Chair of Transport for the North (TfN), a new body created to help transform transport connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse. The news comes just days after the government  announced £200 million to support the operations of TfN and its delivery of Oyster-style ticketing across rail, bus, metro and trams across the region.

Image: Farrells

Image: Farrells

Chancellor George Osborne said: “In my Spending Review we committed to the biggest rise in transport spending in a generation meaning that major projects like the construction of HS2, to link the Northern Powerhouse to the South, can begin.

“Bringing forward this part of the HS2 route by six years is a massive step in the right direction for the Northern Powerhouse where high speed rail will play a big role in connecting up the entire region with the rest of the country.”

“Bringing HS2 to Crewe ahead of time is a tremendous opportunity for the North to feel the benefits even sooner.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 will mean an economic transformation for the whole country. Bringing HS2 to Crewe ahead of time is a tremendous opportunity for the North to feel the benefits even sooner. Cities across the North West and Scotland will gain much needed additional rail capacity and faster services, helping support growth and deliver jobs.

“We continue to make good progress on our plans for the rest of HS2 Phase Two serving Manchester, East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds and will make a decision on the route in autumn 2016.”

On his appointment, Transport for North Chair John Cridland said: I am delighted to take up the appointment of Chair of Transport for the North. There is much to do to improve transport capacity and links across the North, and we now have the opportunity to make this happen. I look forward to working with City leaders, Minsters and all stakeholders across the North of England.

In addition to today’s announcement, David Higgins, HS2 Chairman, has set out his recommendation for the redevelopment of Leeds station as a ‘Yorkshire Hub’ for HS2. The full report can be found here.

HS2 Ltd Chairman Sir David Higgins said: “This is another significant milestone in the development of Britain’s high speed rail network. By accelerating the second phase between Birmingham and Crewe, we will bring the capacity, connectivity and regeneration benefits of HS2 to the North-West and Scotland years earlier than originally planned. It has also been very gratifying, as we develop the plans for Phase Two, to see a consensus grow among the city regions in the East Midlands and Yorkshire on the siting of future hub stations at Toton and Leeds city centre respectively. We all recognise the huge contribution this infrastructure investment can make in helping to rebalance our economy.”

The Transport Secretary has also published a Command Paper, High Speed Two: East and West – The next steps to Crewe and beyond, setting out his route decision on Phase 2a and providing a full update on the significant progress made on delivering HS2 to date and next steps.

He also launched a compensation and assistance consultation for property owners on the route confirmed today between Fradley, in the West Midlands, and Crewe.

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