Posted 17th June 2015 | No Comments

HS2 construction 'to start in 2017'

BUILDING the first phase of HS2 is set to begin in 2017, the government said, as it announced that it has tabled more than 120 changes to the hybrid Bill which is intended to authorise the line, following discussions with communities along the route. These amendments will now be considered by the Select Committee which is dealing with the Bill.

Some of the amendments include moving the existing Heathrow Express depot at Old Oak Common to Langley near Slough, instead of to the North Pole East depot site which is currently proposed, while new sidings are now included west of the future Old Oak Common station, which could help to allow a future connection between Crossrail and the West Coast Main Line, if this is needed. This change follows proposals that some Crossrail services could be extended to Watford Junction and Tring to relieve the pressure on Euston during reconstruction of the station for HS2.

Further north, changes are proposed to the route of HS2 near Lichfield, so that the railway will now pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire line rather than cross them on viaducts. This change will remove the requirement for two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal, which the Department for Transport said 'had previously been of concern to local stakeholders, including the Canal and Rivers Trust'.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: "This motion is a major step forward both in terms of getting HS2 through Parliament and getting this vital railway built.

"The changes to the bill show the government is listening to communities along the HS2 route. By working together, we can ensure this vital railway is designed in the right way, so we have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."

The motion to amend the Bill will now be debated in Parliament. The amendments will then be deposited and anyone affected by the changes will be able to petition against them. A consultation period will also allow members of the public can have their say. The Select Committee will meanwhile continue to hear petitions from people along other parts of the Phase One route.

The DfT added that the hybrid Bill remains 'on track' to achieve Royal Assent by the end of 2016.