HS2 Sheffield: Labour MP Louise Haigh slams broken promises on Yorkshire rail transport infrastructure

HS2 trains will be forced to run on existing tracks between Yorkshire and the Midlands under government plans to scale back the rail infrastructure project.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 12:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 5:29 pm

A new station in Leeds and a new line connecting the city to South Yorkshire are both likely to be given the go-ahead, however, HS2 trains heading south will have to run on existing tracks and go slower for much of the way to Birmingham according to The Independent.

Sheffield Heeley Labour MP, Louise Haigh, has urged the government to use this Wednesday’s Budget to finally deliver on its broken Yorkshire transport promises.

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Trains to London from Sheffield currently take 119 minutes, but would take just 87 minutes under the original HS2 plans.

She said: “A decade of broken promises on the electrification of the mainline from Sheffield to London show this Conservative Government’s word simply cannot be trusted.

“If ministers were serious about ensuring towns and cities of the north are better connected, they'd finally use this budget to deliver HS2 to Sheffield, Northern powerhouse rail and the electrification of the Midland Main Line.

“These projects are critical to addressing the climate crisis and transforming the economy of South Yorkshire - if Ministers go back on their word, communities will feel rightly betrayed.”

Under the proposed changes to the HS2 route plan, journey times from Sheffield to London will take longer than originally proposed.

Sheffield Heeley Labour MP, Louise Haigh, has urged the government to use this Wednesday’s Budget to finally deliver on broken transport promises. Picture by: Scott Merrylees.

Trains to London St Pancras International from Sheffield currently take 119 minutes, but would take just 87 minutes under the original HS2 plans.

The revisions to the HS2 infrastructure plan have faced criticism from MPs, including Conservative MPs holding traditional Labour strongholds in Yorkshire.

Sheffield Penistone and Stocksbridge Conservative MP, Miriam Cates, has publicly changed her mind on the need for the HS2 network altogether, and is instead calling for the reopening of Sheffield Victoria Station.

She said: “The best way to reinvigorate our towns and villages is to connect them to the national rail network and give local people the reliable and convenient public transport links that they need.

“After all, it’s no use being able to get from Sheffield to London 30 minutes quicker if it still takes nearly an hour just to get from Penistone to Sheffield.”

What is the HS2 route?

The new HS2 high speed line will provide fast, frequent and reliable connections between 8 out of Britain’s 10 largest cities and their regions: Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The project is divided into three phases; phase one (London to Birmingham), phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) and phase 2b (West Midlands to Leeds, and Crewe to Manchester).

What is the HS2 cost?

HS2 has been hit by extra costs of up to £890m because of Covid-19, protester activity and rescheduling of construction work, the government has revealed.

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson revealed the spending in an update to parliament last week, and warned of a further £1.3bn of “potential cost pressure” on the megaproject.