Starting construction of the entire HS2 rail project from north to south would “probably have been sensible”, according to the Transport Secretary.
But Grant Shapps ruled out “chopping and changing” the plan for the multibillion-pound high-speed line.
- Avanti West Coast launch social media forum for disabled passengers
- ‘Eddystone’ returns to Swanage Railway after major overhaul
- Reopening plans for Locomotion in Shildon announced
Construction work on phase one of the project from London to Birmingham is ongoing.
Phase 2a is planned to run from Birmingham to Crewe, and Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and from Birmingham to Leeds.
The Government-commissioned Oakervee Review warned last year that the final bill for HS2 could reach £106 billion at 2019 prices.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour former minister Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) said: “Given that the National Infrastructure Bank is going to be based in Leeds, wouldn’t it be highly symbolic to start building phase 2b of the eastern leg of HS2 from Leeds southwards?
“The Secretary of State was quoted recently as saying he’s looking at bringing forward the start date.
“I wonder whether he would consider this idea?”
Mr Shapps replied: “I actually agree with (Mr Benn). It probably would have been sensible to start the entire project from the north-south in the first place.
“However, having looked at this in great detail – not least with the Oakervee Review – I also know chopping and changing those plans partway through is the most expensive possible outcome and doesn’t work out.
“Nonetheless, we are committed to ensuring the integrated rail plan answers all these questions and his point has been very clearly heard.”
Railway ReadsFrom the history of steam through to 21st century rail transport news, we have titles that cater for all rail enthusiasts. Covering diesels, modelling, steam and modern railways, check out our range of magazines and fantastic subscription offers.
Get The Railway Hub Weekly Round-upEnter your e-mail address below and you will receive weekly rail news straight into your inbox...
You can unsubscribe at any time.
About the Author
- RIA survey reveals increasing confidence in rail as innovative sector - 2nd December 2021
- Rail workers to be balloted for strikes over pay, jobs and pensions - 1st December 2021
- South Western Railway launch Christmas shoebox appeal to commuters - 1st December 2021