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Transport Secretary surveys storm damage in Dawlish

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has visited the Devonshire town of Dawlish where a storm on Tuesday undermined a large section of the track.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visits Dawlish train station in Devon
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visits Dawlish train station in Devon

Read: Govt pushes for lower train fares for flood victims

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin surveys the damage
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin surveys the damage
A large section track has been undermined by large waves
A large section track has been undermined by large waves

Read: Huge waves destroy railway line in Dawlish

South west rail network 'needs a long-term solution'

A huge length of railway track is exposed and left hanging after the sea wall collapsed in Dawlish.
A huge length of railway track is exposed and left hanging after the sea wall collapsed in Dawlish. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Transport Secretary has called for a review of the long term future of the south west railway system.

Patrick McLoughlin said: "The immediate priority is to assess the damage and develop a plan to get the line back into service as soon as possible.

"But I am acutely conscious that the need to develop a long-term solution to the resilience of the railway network in the south west, and I have asked for a report to me on the options for addressing this problem."

Read more: Record 75 foot waves in Cornwall as more storms hit UK

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HS2 will be the 'new backbone of Britain'

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 scheme, insisting it will become the new "backbone of Britain".

Opponents of the scheme, who believe the project is a waste of money and should be scrapped, seized on an official report published today which revealed that the estimated economic benefits of the £50 billion project are falling.

However, Mr McLoughlin argued the line was not "some expensive add-on" but a scheme which would help people with their daily lives.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 rail scheme.

Speaking at the National Rail Conference in Manchester, the MP said:

"As the impact of this week’s storm in the south shows, when trains are crowded and disrupted, life for hardworking people gets more difficult. That’s why the new north-south line isn’t some expensive add on. It’s about helping people with their daily lives.

"It’s needed to help commuters who now have to stand - and will soon have to queue - to get on their trains. It’s needed to help the cities of the north which want to compete on equal terms with London. It will be the new backbone of Britain."

Read: Government unveils new business case in its HS2 fightback

McLoughlin: Current disruption supports HS2 plan

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the current weekend disruption on rail networks shows why upgrading the current rail system is not a viable alternative to the HS2.

He told ITV Daybreak the delays and disruption that occurred during the £9 billion upgrade to the West Coast Main Line proves why a new system is preferable to trying to increase capacity on the current network.

Read: HS2 must have broad support 'or it will be nothing'

McLoughlin accuses Labour of 'playing politics' on HS2

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is accusing Labour of "playing politics with our prosperity" over the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project.

A HS2 sign.
Labour has expressed concerns over the cost of the HS2 high-speed rail project. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Mr McLoughlin said those in opposition "learn nothing from the past," adding that the Labour Party could not claim to want one nation "if you won't back the things that will bring it together".

Labour appears to be cooling towards the HS2 project, which will see the scheme's first phase run from London to Birmingham in 2026, with a second Y-shaped route due to be completed to northern England in 2032/33.

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Transport Secretary backs controversial HS2 scheme

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he has "no doubt" the controversial High Speed 2 rail scheme will benefit the whole country, after claims it could cost some cities hundreds of millions of pounds.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 rail scheme.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 rail scheme. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr McLouglin said the project was "vital" for the economy's long-term health, adding: "It's of no doubt to me that it's beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well."

HS2 the 'bypass' for Britain's 'clogged' transport system

Britain's transport system will become "clogged" without HS2 and suffer under swelling passenger numbers, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will say in a speech later today.

The reason we need HS2 isn't for its speed, though speed is obviously a benefit. HS2 will allow you to get from Birmingham to Leeds in 57 minutes and from Manchester to London in 68.

The benefits of faster journeys are easy to explain. But speed is not the main reason for building the new railway.

The main reason we need HS2 is as a heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
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