HS2 trains will still come to Sheffield despite scrapping eastern expansion to Leeds, Transport Secretary confirms
HS2 trains will still come to Sheffield even though the Leeds leg of the service will be scrapped, says transport secretary.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, confirmed today that the Leeds leg of HS2, the government’s long awaited and much contested plan to revolutionise the UK’s rail network, would be scrapped.
The original plan included an expansion of the high speed rail network connecting Birmingham to the East Midlands Hub and Leeds, which had been due for completion between 2035-2040.
Instead, Shapps unveiled a new blueprint including £96 billion for transport to London and across Northern Powerhouse rail which he claims will achieve similar or faster journeys to London than the original plan.
Under this new plan, the HS2 line will continue as far north as Sheffield, but on upgraded mainline tracks. Boris Johnson wrote in The Yorkshire Post today: "HS2 will come to Sheffield, meaning a trip to or from London will take just one hour 27 minutes.” This is the same journey time estimated under the original HS2 plans.
Shapps said that the original plans for HS2, drawn up in 2009 were ‘outdated’ and that the new improvement programme will help to bring benefits much sooner than the eastern leg of HS2 would have.
He added that the government was studying how to bring more lines into Leeds more quickly, but no concrete plans were mentioned.
Sheffield MPs have reacted to the announcement. Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, today tweeted: “Sixty times the Tories pledged to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail. Sixty! They put it in three manifestos. The word of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party is completely and utterly worthless.”
Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, also took to Twiiter today. She tweeted: “We were promised HS2 across the North. We were promised a rail revolution. What we got instead was more meaningless slogans, broken promises, and Tory lies. How is this #LevellingUp the North, @BorisJohnson?”
Sheffielders who spoke to Sheffield Telegraph yesterday were not surprised to hear that eastern leg was likely to be scrapped, and one resident complained that transport to London was speedy but getting to other northern cities such as Leeds was comparatively slow.
Shapps made no mention of improvements by way of connecting Sheffield to Leeds.