Preston and the North West are a step closer to benefiting from a new national high-speed rail network following today’s announcement of the northern routes.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, made the announcement of routes North from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds and confirms the government’s commitment to building a national high-speed, high-capacity railway.
The extension of High Speed 2 (HS2) during phase 2 from the Midlands to Manchester greatly increases the benefits of the new line for our region. The North West should already have benefited from the construction of the first phase from 2026.
Capacity constraints are an issue for the West Coast Main Line and the new HS2 is essential to address this. Network Rail report that without this investment by the mid 2020s the West Coast corridor will be completely full, with no other solutions available for increasing capacity beyond that available today.
In phase 2 Preston rail travellers will be able to connect to the new HS2 to the South of Wigan using ‘compatible’ trains on existing lines. It is hoped that connecting onto the new line the new trains will be able to reach London from Preston in just 1 hour 24 minutes.
The ‘classic compatible’ trains will join the existing network in order to serve places such as Liverpool and on to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Manchester will see 400 metre long high-speed trains travelling on new dedicated railway line with travel times to London cut to 1 hour 8 minutes. Manchester Airport will also receive a new train station.
The High Speed network will run from London to Birmingham and then branch in a Y-shape onto Manchester and Leeds.
Susan Williams director of the North West Rail Campaign said: “This is fantastic news for the North West- connectivity will be crucial in growing our economy, connecting people with jobs and cities with each other”
HS2 North West working in partnership with the North West Rail Campaign aims to promote the many benefits that HS2 will bring to the North West. It is hoped that High Speed Rail plus associated improvements will bring 10,000 jobs and £1bn increase in economic output per year to the North West regional economy.
For more details visit www.HS2NorthWest.org.uk