MPs have today (Thursday 11 February 2021) given the go-ahead to the next phases of Britain’s high speed rail network, with the Bill approving the building of HS2 Phase 2A north from the West Midlands to Crewe achieving Royal Assent.
Parliament’s approval for this new phase of HS2 plugs the line into one of the country’s principal rail hubs in Crewe. It also means the 58km (36miles) route will be built earlier than originally planned, enabling towns and cities across north western England, north Wales and Scotland to benefit sooner, with the opening now planned to coincide with Phase One between London and the West Midlands.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
“Today is a landmark moment in our infrastructure revolution. HS2 is the most significant expansion to our national railways in a generation – transforming connectivity between our towns and cities and vastly increasing the capacity of our rail network. By proceeding full steam ahead, we are delivering on our commitment to unite and level up the country.
“The construction of Phase 2a will support thousands of jobs and create opportunities for local businesses as we build back better.”
Today’s decision means HS2 is set to deliver another major economic boost to UK PLC, by supporting around 5,000 jobs to build Phase 2a, with many more in the supply chain. In addition, the railway will support 140 permanent jobs at its maintenance base near Stone in Staffordshire.
Welcoming the decision, HS2 Ltd CEO, Mark Thurston said:
“Parliament’s approval for extending HS2 beyond the West Midlands to the North is a clear sign that MPs recognise the enormous potential of this scheme and continue to give their strong support.
“As the first major railway built in the North for over 100 years, HS2 will spur massive economic growth for our towns and cities, help to level up the country, and provide cleaner, greener public transport for millions. As construction starts, this new phase of work will very quickly support 5,000 jobs in the North, with many more in the supply chain, further cementing HS2’s critical role in Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Once operational, high speed services operating between London, Birmingham and Crewe will use the newly-constructed high speed line – delivering extra capacity, improved reliability and reducing journey times. These services will then join the existing network to create direct services to places including Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow. Crewe is also the station for connections to North Wales and Shrewsbury.
Dr Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe & Nantwich said:
“Extending the HS2 line to Crewe is a major step towards levelling-up the north. It is crucial to bringing new jobs and opportunities to our town and for creating better local rail connections as we free up the currently overly congested line West Coast Main Line. This reaffirms Crewe’s status at the heart of the rail network and just as we were a crucial part of the previous rail revolution, HS2 will cement our place as a vital part of the next.”
Passenger services will start between HS2’s stations at London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street between 2029-33. Phase 2a’s opening will be aligned with the London – Birmingham route.
Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce said:
“HS2 brings potential benefits for Staffordshire businesses, both now and in the future. Extending the high speed line northwards will generate thousands of contract opportunities for local businesses of all sizes and their involvement will provide a vital boost for the Staffordshire economy in the years ahead.”
The first phase of HS2 between London and the West Midlands is already well underway, with the start of construction announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September 2020. There are 240 sites now active along the Phase One route, employing over 13,000 people and over 400 apprenticeships, with tens of thousands more jobs supported through the supply chain. Almost 2,000 companies have worked on the project to date, with 98% of them based in Britain.