Green light for HS3
David Cameron and George Osborne have given their backing to a report published by HS2 chairman, Sir David Higgins, which sets out proposals aimed at maximising the benefits of HS2 in the north of England more widely.
In the report, Sir David identifies the importance of improving east west connectivity and considers the central role a high speed rail link could play. He concludes that with a high speed link the journey time between Leeds and Manchester could be cut from around 55 to between 26 and 34 minutes.
The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have also welcomed a recommendation that co-operation on transport issues should be formalised in the north – the Chancellor has announced the creation of a new body called Transport for the North, made up of the main northern city regions.
Working with Transport for the North, the government intends to produce a comprehensive transport strategy for the region. This will include options, costs and a delivery timetable for an HS3 east west rail connection. An interim report should be ready in March 2015.
The report from Sir David Higgins also gives strong backing to the case for Phase Two of HS2 and sets out proposals to maximise its benefits.
His proposals include bringing forward plans for a hub station at Crewe to 2027 and a fundamental review of the right solution for Leeds station to allow connections between HS2, existing rail services and improved east west connections. The government will set out its detailed plans for Phase Two in 2015.