Live updates

Advertisement

Advertisement

'HS3' would slash journey times by half in north

Train journey times between northern English cities could be slashed by half after ministers backed plans for a third high-speed railway.

Two trains pass through Church Fenton, North Yorkshire where it is proposed the HS2 railway will link with the East Coast Mainline. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The proposals were put forward in a report from the head of the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project, Sir David Higgins.

The improvements would cover an east-west section of northern England and would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

Sir David said northern connectivity plans - dubbed "HS3" and backed by Chancellor George Osborne - would be "as important to the north of England as Crossrail is for London".

If carried forward, the plans would mean journey times between Leeds and Manchester could almost be cut in half.

While journeys between Leeds and Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield Meadowhall, York and Birmingham and Nottingham to Birmingham could also be reduced by a half or more, and many more journeys across the country substantially shortened.

"Improving connectivity is vital if Britain is to compete in the knowledge economy in which this country has a competitive advantage, but in which ease of travel is an essential element."

– HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins

HS2 regeneration body to be launched

A huge redevelopment around the HS2 project, creating 14,000 jobs, 2,000 homes and worth up to £1.3 billion a year to the economy, is being announced by the Government today.

A high speed train using HS1, the Channel Tunnel. Credit: PA

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is launching a regeneration body that will drive economic growth around the Curzon Street HS2 city centre terminus in Birmingham.

He is also announcing the location of the high-speed rail project's construction HQ, which taken together sees the creation of a large number of jobs, significant regeneration of the city centre and a massive economic boost to the city.

HS2 is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. By locating the new HS2 engineering HQ in Birmingham we are bringing skilled job opportunities into the area, spreading HS2's benefits beyond those using the new rail line.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

HS2 'will start in 2017', Transport Secretary confirms

Tonight's vote in Parliament on the HS2 bill means the high-speed rail line will begin construction in 2017, the Transport Secretary has confirmed.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at the proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Patrick McLoughlin also tried to calm the fears of anti-HS2 campaigners over the impact of the proposed route on their areas, saying:

"I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."

Load more updates