HS2 rail line to connect to Liverpool? Is this really what we want?
Local councillors and MPs are calling on the Government’s recently-announced high-speed rail line to be extended to include Liverpool on its route.
The Government proposed a new 120-mile high-speed rail connection between London and Birmingham. The ‘High Speed 2’ (HS2) will cut journey times significantly, with a planned second phase of the network extending to Manchester and Leeds in the north of England.
However, a number of councillors and MPs from Merseyside want the estimated £30 billion infrastructure project to be expanded to link up with Liverpool.
Wirral West MP Esther McVey said on her website: “If we want to grow our economy and close the north south-gap then a strong, fast, reliable transport network is vital.”
The Conservative MP has cross-party support, with Labour city councillor Paul Brant telling JMU Journalism: “HS2 is vital for the regeneration and connectivity for Liverpool. I only hope the Government ensure that the city is connected to the line.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Paula Keaveney echoed that sentiment, as she told JMU Journalism: “Liverpool Liberal Democrats fully support the suggestion that HS2 should go to Liverpool."
The first phase of the route between London and Birmingham has already been approved, and should be running by 2026. It is expected to cut the journey time from London to Birmingham from 84 minutes to 49 minutes. The second phase consultation will begin in early 2014, and the route is expected to be ready by 2033 on the current plans, but currently that is without Liverpool being on the route.
There is some opposition to the idea from the Liverpool Green Party, who don’t support HS2 in the first place for environmental reasons.
Green Councillor John Coyne told JMU Journalism: “HS2 is bad for Liverpool as it cements the relative advantage of Manchester over Liverpool as the better North West location for any business that thinks it will need faster links to London. Even if a Liverpool spur could be created, Liverpool would still be less well served than Manchester on the main line.” Taken from an article on JMU website by James Routledge.
Given the massive cost and the proposed completion date of 2033, which going on other major projects, are both likely to be wildly optimistic, do the people of England in general and Liverpool in particular think this is the best use of our taxes?
We can already get to London from Liverpool in just over two hours. Do we commute often enough to want to reduce that or would we prefer ensuring we get a seat for the journey? I do the trip regularly and I warn any one who has not done it to avoid the Friday evening trains. There are many train routes that could use the investment right now to improve the passenger experience, not in twenty years. Upgrade the existing tracks to allow existing trains to travel faster. Add a few more carriages to provide more comfort for the travellers who will be paying the tax now or allow us Plebs to use the empty first class carriages and provide free WIFI so the business commuter can get on with their work. For £30 billion they could provide 100,000,000 return trips by taxi from Liverpool to London.
Nick Small Snr, Pali Ltd.
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