HS2 green signal, but North now to consider 'integrated plan' February 12, 2020

Low Moor station opened in 2017 at near-double- estimate £10.8m. HS2 costs near 10,000 times thatPrime Minister Boris Johnson has given the "green signal" for the first phase of the controversial HS2 high speed rail project between London and Birmingham.

He has also indicated a commitment to preparing for the first part of the second phase as far as Crewe, but its continuation to Manchester and the second arm between Birmingham and Leeds will be reviewed in conjunction with the Northern Powerhouse Rail project as part of an "integrated plan for rail in the North".

That Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) project was recently revealed in the House of Lords to be still just a marker pen line on a map.

The Government says it will now look at how to best to accelerate the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail, recognising that better East-West connections are a priority for local leaders. This will include looking at options for a new delivery body.

As planned, the prestige high-spend prestige HS2 project would take travellers from Leeds either to Birmingham or to London by-passing everywhere else. It would cut up to 40 minutes on the current fastest journey from Leeds to London.

HS2 was to link to Sheffield on existing trscks through Chesterfield in Derbyshire, the route having been moved away from the originally-planned Meadowhall Interchange stop on HS2. Another link was to by-pass Leeds to take some HS2 trains on to existing tracks into York.

Recently the National Audit Office on Friday confirmed the view that there are significant challenges to the HS2 railway delivering value for taxpayers.

The Government watchdog report found that HS2 is over budget and behind schedule because the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd and wider government have underestimated its complexity and risk. It adds that significant challenges to completing the programme and delivering value for taxpayers and passengers remain.

HS2 services would branch off via existing routes through Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to SheffieldBusy commuter trains will reach HS2 at LeedsWith the cost of HS2 now estimated to have risen from the original official £56bn figure to possibly £106bn, the value of a high speed railway to the vast Yorkshire region with its many population centres has come under even greater scrutiny.

To get the cost in proportion, it is the equivalent of building several thousands of new commuter stations.

Last year Yorkshire.guide carried out a study, The HS2 Effect, which for the first time assessed the effect of the planned HS2 on each of the cities and major towns in the Yorkshire region, including those major centres the designed HS2 route completely ignores.

One such example is the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Miles of HS2 are planned on an expensive bypass of Wakefield to take HS2 into a new station in Leeds. It would save just five minutes compared to joining HS2 to existing routes through Wakefield Westgate to the existing Leeds station. But that five minutes would subsequently be lost on the extra walk between stations to change to already busy commuter trains to complete journeys with ultimately no time saving.

Our study looked at which Yorkshire towns and cities would benefit and which would not. On each home page for the biggest cities and towns in Yorkshire, we added one of three simple ratings based on convenience and time saved over present-day services if travelling to London. You can read about the study in more detail at:

 The HS2 effect   

Find out the places you could travel to on HS2 at HS2 destinations.

 HS2 destinations   

See also

Yorkshire's busiest railway stations.

Northern Powerhouse Rail - What's the Plan? See NPR.

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