Following the Government’s confirmation today that it intends to progress the construction of a high-speed rail line (‘Phase 2’) north of Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, Steve Agg, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) said:
"This bold and necessary step brings the prospect of a new high speed railway line between the north of England and London a little closer. Committing to building the line on to Manchester and Leeds will ensure HS2 delivers a generous economic and social return for Britain as a whole. It will help rebalance the economy, bring investment and jobs to the growing and dynamic city-regions around Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds and increase connectivity for people and businesses across the UK.
The new route significantly increases the capacity for extra freight trains on the existing network; enabling them to take advantage of the slots freed by inter-city passenger trains moving to the new high speed line. This means the transport of people and goods will be greatly improved as capacity on the existing network will be able to carry more freight and local passenger trains.
"While the project is still many years from fruition, the firm prospect of the line will encourage investment and business growth, spread wealth and jobs as well as alleviating congestion on the current network.
"Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the vital role that transport plays in stimulating economic growth. Alternative solutions such as tinkering with the existing West Coast and East Coast Main Lines will not deliver the same dividends."