Transport chiefs welcome approval for HS2 links to Crewe

Tim Wood

Northern transport chiefs have welcomed news that the next stage of the controversial HS2 high-speed rail link to Crewe has been approved.

It will build links from the West Midlands to Crewe, aimed at providing a booster for economic growth.

Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director at Transport for the North, said: “This is brilliant news.

“It has been a long time coming but HS2 has now been approved up to Crewe, which takes us to the doorstep of the North of England.

“The move will lock-in the creation of thousands of jobs in the years to come as we seek to build back better.

“It is essential now that the North gets certainty on the delivery of Phase 2b in full, on both sides of the Pennines, so that our communities are fully connected to the nation’s high-speed network.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 are two parts of a whole and both are fundamental to the transformative change we need to release the North’s economic potential and cut carbon emissions.”

He added: “We look forward to the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan shortly, which needs to give certainty to both HS2 to Manchester and Leeds, and to the Northern Powerhouse Rail network.”

Cllr Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a hugely important milestone and brings with it the powers and government commitment to bring high speed rail to Crewe and move to the construction phase.

“HS2 is a strategically important project and will drive increased business confidence to invest in Crewe.

“This will create opportunities to not only enhance the town of Crewe, but also the wider borough through the jobs, services and improved opportunities it can provide.”

Work on the first stage of HS2 up to Crewe is scheduled to complete between 2028 and 2031. A second phase, heading North to Wigan and Manchester, and Leeds, could be finished between 2035-2040.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Whatever your view of this project, HS2 is now a reality – heading north, creating jobs and building a brighter future for our country.

“This vital project is at the heart of the Government’s commitments to build back better from the pandemic, tackle the North-South divide and drive growth across the country.

“I look forward to seeing spades in the ground to get this section built and deliver the benefits of high-speed rail to the North as swiftly as possible.”

Work on creating the first phase of HS2 between London and the West Midlands is well under way.

HS2 says it employs more than 13,000 people with 400 apprenticeships, and tens of thousands more jobs supported through the supply chain.

Passenger services are set to start between stations at London’s Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street between 2029-33.

The service will carry six long-distance high speed services per hour.