Rail line will ‘drain funding’, says Darling

Alistair Darling
Alistair Darling
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The planned high speed rail line set to run through South Yorkshire will ‘drain funding’ from the rest of the network, former Labour Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has warned.

Mr Darling said the project will be a potential ‘nightmare’ for train services in the rest of the country as a rise in HS2’s budget from £32 billion to £42.6bn would drain cash from other lines.

He said: “It is time to revisit the case for HS2. It runs the risk of draining the railway of money vital for investment over the next 30 years.”

But Alison Munro, HS2 chief executive, said Maria Eagle, Labour transport spokeswoman, had confirmed her ‘strong support’ for the project.

However, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has insisted his party will not sign a ‘blank cheque’ for the high-speed railway line between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, via Sheffield.

The line’s proposed route features a station at Meadowhall, but campaigners want trains to stop in Sheffield city centre instead.