When it becomes the first ‘sub national transport body’ in 2017, Transport for the North must become the client and guiding mind for HS2 in the north of England.
Transforming the North’s economy requires transformed transport infrastructure. The HS2 project is now recognised as having multiple functions, including improving links between the north’s major cities, as well as to/from London. Decisions about how and when to implement HS2 in the north, including developing service plans and providing for access to HS2 stations, must be recognised as a core part of Transport for the North’s transport strategy.
Sir David Higgins’ observation in 2014 that HS2 could contribute better north-south connectivity within the north, but that the absence of good east-west connections remained an issue, was met by a swift, joined-up response from the north’s major cities. The work, presented as “One North” outlined an overall transport strategy with better rail connectivity playing a key part, and set out the close inter-relations between HS2, faster east west connections, and city region network development.
Greengauge 21 believes that cost-efficient decisions on phasing and integration that support the North’s wider industrial strategy and economic plans will only come through widespread cooperation and collaboration that is led by Transport for the North.
At the National Rail Conference in Manchester Jim Steer expounds on the importance of a unifying guiding mind on planning rail investment, and pinpoints the need to empower Transport for the North to achieve this. He explains why responsibility for planning decisions on HS2 in the north of England needs to be made an explicit responsibility of Transport for the North.
Access the presentation here: Greengauge 21 National Rail Conference 2016