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HS2’s journey north accelerates as public consultation opens

Plans to extend Britain’s new railway, High Speed Two, to the North moved a step closer today with the opening of a new public consultation which invites people’s views on the latest proposals for the railway.

Communities in Dumfries and Galloway are encouraged to have their say, as one of the four proposed changes to the High-Speed route north of Crewe (known as the Western leg of Phase 2b) includes a new train stabling facility at Annandale, for HS2 trains that will serve Scotland and the North West of England.

HS2 will serve four destinations in Scotland; Lockerbie, Motherwell, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as trains leave the dedicated HS2 track to the south of Wigan and join the existing West Coast Mainline. When Phase 2b is fully operational, passengers in Scotland will benefit from an increased number of HS2 train services compared to when the first two Phases of HS2 are complete (known as Phase One – London to the West Midlands, and Phase 2a – West Midlands - Crewe).

Faster journey times, improved connectivity and cleaner, greener travel means that HS2’s arrival is forecast to benefit the Scottish economy by over £5bn. It will join up the economic powerhouses of Glasgow and Edinburgh with fast, reliable train travel to other major cities in the UK. The UK and Scottish governments share the ultimate ambition of three-hour rail journeys between London and Scotland’s Central Belt.

Collectively, HS2 and NPR will increase capacity on the rail network and improve connections between the UK’s biggest cities and regions, while generating thousands of jobs and boosting economic growth across the Midlands and the North.

The public consultation, which opens today, outlines four proposed modifications to the current design of the Phase 2b Western leg to fully integrate with plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and the wider transport network.

Communities in Dumfries and Galloway are invited to view the proposals for the design of the Annandale site, which will include:

  • 14 stabling slides, designed to accommodate up to 28 trains that are 200 metres in length;
  • Two connections to the West Coast Mainline to accommodate trains entering and leaving service at Carlisle (where HS2 trains will split from 400m trains to 200m trains for onward service to Scotland); and
  • A training room, meeting room and storage facilities.

The depot is also expected to provide a jobs boost for the local community through the creation of around 100 permanent jobs.

The site in Annandale, near Gretna, was selected as the preferred location for the stabling facility as it improves the operational efficiency of the railway. Its location allows trains to be stabled overnight near to where they will start and finish service, instead of travelling to the next closest HS2 depot north of Crewe, approximately 150 miles away.

HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson MP said:

 “Engaging with communities is at the heart of our work at HS2 and Northern Powerhouse and we’re eager to hear from residents and businesses in Dumfries and Galloway on this newly proposed depot facility.”

“Our ambition to design and deliver this vital connection across Scotland and North-East England as quickly and efficiently as possible, will not only create more jobs - but improve its connections and journey times for future generations.”

The public consultation, which closes on the 11th December 2020, is supported by a series of live webinar events, which allow communities to find out more about the proposals and ask questions. The webinars are supported by HS2’s freephone Helpdesk, which is available 24/7.  Events are being held online, rather than in person, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of local communities.

Leonie Dubois, HS2’s Head of Consultation and Engagement said:

“Our latest consultation demonstrates that we’re a step closer to extending Britain’s new railway and improving connectivity to the North, while delivering on the vision for a cleaner, greener transport network.

“Local communities have an important role to play in informing the final design of the railway and I encourage them to take the time to respond to these proposals”.

Consultation documents, which provide a detailed account of the proposed changes, are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-western-leg-design-refinement-consultation


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