Posted 28th September 2023 | 5 Comments

Opposition grows to scrapping HS2 north of Birmingham

Reports that the Prime Minister is preparing to scrap HS2 Phases 2A and 2B from Birmingham to Crewe and Manchester are igniting more opposition.

It has been said that Rishi Sunak wants to save money by cutting HS2 back to a section between west London and Birmingham, but it has been reported that he has opposition even at Cabinet level, where some ministers say the full line between London and Manchester should still go ahead, in spite of rising costs.

The Mayors of the city regions in the north have condemned any further shortening of HS2’s route.

Transport for the North has added its voice to the protests and support for HS2 in the region has been confirmed, with TfN saying that both HS2 and NPR need to go ahead, and that any further delay will increase the costs still further.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was the guest at a TfN meeting in Leeds, where he backed the call for HS2 to continue, saying: ‘The success of the North is crucial to London’s success.’

The chair of TfN, former transport secretary Lord McLoughlin, added: ‘Northern leaders spoke with one voice today. We need HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail built in full if we are to realise the full potential of the North and to level up our national economy. Let us not delay.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • pauline grimshaw, Blackburn

    Totally disgusted and appalled at the decision to abandon the HS2 to the north. Good communications are essential to the growth of the northern economy. astounded at the decision. Pauline Grimshaw

  • david C smith, Bletchley

    My understanding is that , on the one hand the oft - quoted capacity justification is particularly so south of Rugby , which was the main reason to justify HS2 in the first place. Around Warrington , there are effectively two WCMLs joined "end to end"; one is the heavily trafficed line from there southward , whilst to the north , the main passenger traffic is from the south to Scotland. Perhaps it was not a good idea to try and combine capacity relief with very high speed ? It may have been better to have had a separate North - South dedicated, optimised HS line, whilst any still needed additional capacity obtained through more localised , less spectacular schemes.

  • John Porter , Leeds

    David thought “Manchester and Liverpool already have good, fast lines to Crewe, with no particular capacity problems [he was] aware of”.
    There are three I know about: Weaver Junction, Stockport & Manchester Piccadilly.
    Hence it won’t be enough to “ put some investment into Manchester - Leeds , which is at the heart of many services in the North”.
    It’s better to start building Warrington to Marsden Northern Powerhouse scheme BEFORE Staffordshire (or Crewe) to Hoo Green.
    Ideally managed by splitting HS2 into HS2 & HS3 Ltd, with HS3 gaining its own reputation and based in cheaper territory than London & Birmingham.

  • david C smith, Bletchley

    I guess terminating at B'ham Curzon street would be the worst thing to do, with very little to offer over and above the present Pendolino service. Given that it is too late to cancel the whole thing, it seems a "yes" to B'ham to Crewe( 2A) , but a "no" to anything north of Crewe( 2B) would be the least bad policy now. Manchester and Liverpool already have good, fast lines to Crewe, with no particular capacity problems that I'm aware of.

    But in general, it is a case like the one where a tourist enquired the way to Tipperary. The answer came "well, if I were you, I wouldn't start from here! ".
    Otherwise, put some investment into Manchester - Leeds , which is at the heart of many services in the North !

  • Chris Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    It's time the PM got off the fence. The public discourse regarding HS2 Phase 2 has turned into a farce and it is increasingly clear that any decision being reached is considered is putting short term political calculation and budget allocation ahead of long term infrastructure investment. What is clear that outside the Westminster environment that there is a united voice, irrespective of political allegiance, to see the project through as originally envisaged.

    It is poor economics with a multi year investment project to keep moving the goal post. This only adds cost, complexity and uncertainty to the project. Let's have some clarity soon.