Call to speed up HS2 to north

Concept designs of what the HS2 train could look like, giving passengers a 21st Century experience.
Concept designs of what the HS2 train could look like, giving passengers a 21st Century experience.
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A plan has been announced to accelerate the northern phase of the high-speed HS2 rail link – which will connect Sheffield to London.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins yesterday proposed a new timetable for the second stage of the £50bn project, as well as new ways of improving connections to the existing railway.

He said phase two of the scheme, to run from Birmingham to the north east and north west, should run 43 miles further than planned, to Crewe. The second phase could then be complete by 2030, rather than 2033.

Sir David said the Government should ‘accelerate phase two as soon as possible’ to bring benefits sooner.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Sir David Higgins proposes to build HS2 better and bring the benefits to the north sooner. He has the Government’s strong support.”

But Star readers said the money for HS2 – which has proved controversial – could be better spent.

David Coldwell said: “A complete waste of money for something that is going give little or no benefit to the vast majority. The whole project needs pulling before any more money and resources are wasted.”

Simon Smith added: “How about putting the money in the towns and cities to improve our way of life, not just the fat cats of London?”

And Peter Frith wrote on The Star’s Facebook page: “It is not a rail link that is needed. We need a new motorway linking Sheffield to London with fewer junctions to small towns.”

But Simon Green at Sheffield Council said the announcement was ‘welcome’. “We believe it could accelerate the delivery, and therefore the benefits of HS2,” he said. “We agree with Sir David’s vision for how HS2 could transform the north. In the meantime our priority remains getting the proposed Sheffield station located at Victoria in the city centre, enabling the Sheffield City Region to reap the full benefits.”