LETTERS: There are wider benefits to be had from HS2 line

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Your article, High speed rail brings ‘all change’ on trains (24 July), said Network Rail ‘predicts fewer trains will run on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and London’ when the second phase of HS2 between Birmingham and Leeds is complete. This claim is misleading.

In 20 years, HS2 will provide the backbone of Britain’s rail network, providing fast, frequent journeys between our biggest cities. While the benefits for people travelling between Manchester and London or Sheffield and Birmingham on the new high speed line are clear, it’s also important to understand the wider benefits that HS2 will bring for those travelling on the existing rail network.

As well as the new fast services on HS2 – 38 minutes to Birmingham and 69 minutes to London – Sheffield and its surrounds will also get better local and regional rail services as long-distance trains are moved from the existing network and onto HS2.

Freeing up this capacity provides the potential to improve commuter services, provide more frequent journeys to other key regional towns and cities and open up new journey opportunities to places without a direct rail link.

Our initial work has identified a number of potential benefits for Sheffield, South Yorkshire, the East Midlands and beyond.

Rupert Walker

Head of high speed rail development, Network Rail