Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has today confirmed in a statement to Parliament that HS2 Phase 2b construction plans will make provision to join up north-south HS2 rail infrastructure with west-east Northern Powerhouse Rail to Liverpool.
In publishing the Government’s HS2 Command Paper today, the Secretary of State confirmed that the ‘Golborne Link’, a section of high speed rail line essential to delivering both Northern Powerhouse Rail and full HS2 connectivity to Liverpool City Region will be included in the HS2 Phase 2b construction plan, to be taken forward in a Hybrid Bill to Parliament. He also confirmed that so-called ‘passive provision’ – a small section of additional line that would enable the future construction to connect Northern Powerhouse Rail to the HS2 network to take place without disruption to services once they are running – will be provided for in the Bill.
Independent economic evidence commissioned by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority puts the economic benefit to the region of direct connection to both west-east and north-south full high speed rail at over £15 billion, with over 20,000 new jobs, 10,000 new homes and 2.9 million extra visitors.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said:
“There are a number of good things in today’s statement, especially good news for the City Region’s connection with both the north-south HS2 and the new west-east Northern Powerhouse Rail. But, there is still much to do in making sure Government commit to investment in a new station for the city centre and faster journey times to Manchester and London.
“The economic case for delivering full high speed rail for Liverpool City Region is huge and that’s why I will continue lobbying for this investment over the next four years as City Mayor, after we have started to see progress.
“Earlier this year we wrote along with thirteen of our Liverpool City Region MPs to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Chancellor and Lord Adonis, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission outlining the once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver the huge economic benefits offered by full high speed rail connectivity. The Northern Powerhouse Rail programme also has a critically important part to play here, so Transport for the North also made the same ask of Government and it is vitally important that we continue to pursue this work through.
“The economy is a key focus for my next four years as Mayor of Liverpool and investment for our businesses in both passenger and freight is vital, and it’s good to finally see our work bearing fruit with Government.”
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel, said:
“Today’s Command Paper provides the basis from which we can now take forward the next phase of work with Transport for the North to prepare optimum design and the detailed business case for Liverpool’s connections with Northern Powerhouse and HS2, to be included in the draft HS2 Hybrid Bill from autumn 2017.
“There still remains a significant amount of work to be done including on the need for a new integrated station solution at Liverpool Lime Street to facilitate our long-term objectives, including halving the journey time between Liverpool and Manchester and reducing the Liverpool to London journey time by an additional 25 per cent.
“So in support of this Command Paper, we will continue other long-term work to explore options for a new station at Liverpool Lime Street that will be able to accommodate both Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed 2 trains.”
Asif Hamid, Interim Chair of Liverpool City Region LEP, said:
“Today’s announcement paves the way for the delivery of the extra passenger capacity the Liverpool City Region will need for the future along with the freight capacity that will make the most of the investments in our Port.
“The business community will continue to work hand-in-hand with public sector colleagues and partners in transport and government, in particular through Transport for the North, to deliver the long-term work required to make these huge opportunities a reality.
“Although the ultimate construction of this rail infrastructure may seem a long way in the future, it is the decisions we make now that will affect the prosperity not only of future generations, but that will also influence business confidence and investment in Liverpool City Region in the shorter term.”