HS2 Bill passes key stage in House of Lords, beating prorogation by a whisker

12 September, 2019

The House of Lords yesterday approved the Bill for Phase 2a of HS2, the section from Lichfield across Staffordshire to Crewe at second reading, shortly before Parliament was prorogued.

Support for HS2 from their Lordships is most welcome at this time. It means that the Phase 2a bill can remain on track for Royal Assent at the end of this year (or early in 2020).

As Allan Cook, chair of HS2 Ltd has recently made clear, slippage with Phase 1 in effect means that – subject to obtaining Parliamentary Powers for Phase 2a – the two phases can by progressed in parallel.

One of the benefits of this is that it offers an answer (of sorts) to the ambition expressed by many to start building HS2 in the North. While that is not possible at this time for the full Phase 2b scheme, it should now be possible to undertake construction of Phases 1 and 2a together provided there are no delays to the Phase 2a Bill when it returns to the House of Commons. In other words, building HS2 can be started in earnest in the north (Crewe) at the same time as in the south (London).



HS2 releases capacity for commuters where it is most needed

6 September, 2019

HS2 is criticised for many things, and one that does not withstand scrutiny is that it only benefits long distance rail travellers. Actually, HS2 will bring much-needed relief to hard-pressed commuters. Here, we explain how.

As might be expected, train overcrowding affects commuters in London much more than other cities. But rail travel is growing fastest in the West Midlands (+247% since 1997) and faster too in the North West (+173%) than in Greater London (+114%, over the same period).

A recent report from the Department for Transport examines trends on crowding

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Scrapping HS2 will delay benefits for the North

31 August, 2019

The timing of the Government’s review of HS2 has been carefully calibrated around the unfolding wider political drama. Having an unpublished review at the time of a General Election could help avoid losing Conservative voters to the Brexit Party in the Chilterns, while keeping the hope of picking up seats in the Midlands and the North.

It will be realised that such considerations are a poor basis for good decision-making. And that the Government’s recent commitment to zero-carbon by 2050 means there is another, ultimately more important, drama in play. It is on this second stage, where no less than a transformation of the national transport system is required, that HS2 should really be judged. Who wouldn’t want, as part of this transformation, an expanded electrified rail network offering carbon-free travel, an alternative to short-haul domestic air travel and a freeing up of capacity to get more freight off the highway network?

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Review for HS2

29 August, 2019

HS2 looks like it’s going over budget, so let’s review whether it’s still worthwhile. Really? As if most of our major projects come in on time and budget? And think about it: a review itself means delay, in this case, probably a year or so. And that will certainly add to the costs of HS2 (if it still proceeds).

A review like this is only worthwhile if it examines all sources of cost inflation. Nobody will admit it, but much of this is driven by the need to meet a whole raft of obligations

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Connecting Mansfield and Kirby-in-Ashfield directly to HS2’s station at Toton

4 June, 2019

We welcome Ashfield District Council’s plan to seek a more detailed set of proposals on the re-opening and upgrading a freight-only line which would allow passenger trains to run between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston, and then on to Toton and Nottingham –  something Greengauge 21 advocated for in Beyond HS2.

As well as promoting the economic benefits, the council is keen to promote initiatives that are sustainable and have the potential to improve air quality across the district. See article in the West Bridge Wire

Glasgow plans for HS2

29 April, 2019

Greengauge 21 heralds a new report that completes a missing piece in the emerging plan to connect Glasgow to London by high-speed rail.

The Connecting Glasgow, Phase 2 Report, released today by the independent Glasgow Connectivity Commission, describes an exciting plan to capitalise on the ‘HS2 Opportunity’. It is one of three key inter-linked initiatives for the Glasgow city region’s rail network. The Commission

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