Leg­is­la­tion for north­ern branch of HS2 de­layed

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Correspondent

LEG­IS­LA­TION needed to ex­tend the new high-speed rail line (HS2) from Birm­ing­ham to the north of Eng­land has been de­layed by a year, it has been re­ported.

The blow comes as the man spear­head­ing the sec­ond phase of the huge in­fra­struc­ture project has quit the role to take on a new job in Canada.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port (DfT) said it was im­por­tant that the £55.7 bil­lion project “takes full ac­count” of North­ern Pow­er­house Rail, the scheme to boost rail connections from east to west across north­ern re­gions.

The sec­ond phase of HS2 will see high-speed ser­vices leave Birm­ing­ham and head to Cheshire and the North West and York­shire via the East Mid­lands.

The first phase be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Lon­don is due for com­ple­tion in 2026 and the sec­ond phase in 2033.

Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling an­nounced last sum­mer that the tabling of a bill in Par­lia­ment for phase 2b, which runs from Crewe to Manch­ester and Birm­ing­ham to Leeds, would take place in 2019.

But the Govern­ment is pre­par­ing to pause this un­til 2020, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The DfT would not con­firm the de­lay but is­sued a state­ment, say­ing: “In or­der to max­imise the huge po­ten­tial of HS2, it is im­por­tant to make sure it takes full ac­count of the emerg­ing vi­sion for the other trans­for­ma­tive project of North­ern Pow­er­house Rail.

“Phase 2b of the rail­way will con­nect the great cities of the North to boost jobs, housing and eco­nomic growth and re­mains on track to open in 2033.

“We will up­date Par­lia­ment as part of our con­sul­ta­tion this au­tumn.”

In a sep­a­rate an­nounce­ment, the DfT said that Paul Grif­fiths, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of phase two of HS2, is to leave the post at the end of this year.

He has been ap­pointed as the new pro­gram di­rec­tor of the $40 bil­lion Metrolinx pro­gram in Toronto, said to be the largest pub­lic tran­sit in­vest­ment in Cana­dian his­tory.

Mr Grif­fiths joined HS2 in 2015 and has been re­spon­si­ble for work­ing with cen­tral govern­ment and lo­cal stake­hold­ers to plan and de­velop the route for phase two.

Mean­while, more than £10 mil­lion in new fund­ing has been se­cured to spend on trans­port and in­fras­truc- ture work in Soli­hull ahead of the ar­rival of HS2. The West Mid­lands Com­bined Au­thor­ity has awarded £10.2 mil­lion to the bor­ough to sup­port a num­ber of schemes in­clud­ing key route im­prove­ments, sus­tain­able travel and new tech­nolo­gies in­clud­ing low car­bon en­ergy and elec­tric and au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.

Th­ese trans­port projects will sit along­side as­so­ci­ated com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment and will fit into wider re­gional in­vest­ment from HS2, High­ways Eng­land, Trans­port for West Mid­lands and the Mid­land Metro Al­liance.

Cen­tral to th­ese plans is im­prov­ing the links be­tween the town and ‘ The Hub’, the area near Birm­ing­ham Air­port where the new HS2 Interchange sta­tion will be built.

Some of this new fund­ing will also be used in Soli­hull town cen­tre to help de­velop plans for an in­te­grated trans­port hub in­clud­ing an up­graded train sta­tion, new homes and Grade A of­fice space.

> An artist’s im­pres­sion of HS2

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.