Transport secretary confirms government commitment to HS2

12 Oct 16

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has recommitted the government to construction of the High Speed 2 rail line, saying that the project is needed now more than ever.

In a statement today, Grayling said the planned line would tackle the looming capacity crisis on the rail network as well as boosting regeneration along the line of the route.

Phase 1 of the project will see a high-speed railway line constructed between London and the West Midlands, which is due to open in either 2026 or 2027. Phases 2a and 2b involve extending the line from the West Midlands to Crewe, and to Manchester and Leeds, respectively. It is estimated Phase 2 will begin running trains around 2033.

Grayling said construction is due to begin on the scheme in the first half of next year, while a decision on the Phase 2 route is expected in the autumn.

“We’re facing a rapidly approaching crunch-point,” he said. “In the last 20 years alone, the number of people travelling on our railways has more than doubled and our rail network is the most intensively used of any in Europe.

“We need HS2 for the capacity it will bring on the routes between London, the West Midlands, Crewe, Leeds and Manchester, as well as the space it’ll create elsewhere on our transport network.”

He also announced the government would provide £70m funding to support local communities and road safety along the route between London and the West Midlands. This is made up of three separate funds – the HS2 Community and Environment Fund, the Business and Local Economy Fund, which together total £40m, and a £30m road safety fund.

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