HS2 cancellation will mean rail congestion for decades, says union

The TSSA rail union has cautioned about prolonged rail congestion following the government’s decision to stop HS2 at Birmingham.

A panel of industry experts, academics and journalists highlighted to the Transport Select Committee that HS2 was crucial and said that without HS2 there would be no expansion in railway capacity beyond Lichfield, impacting both business and freight travel.

TSSA general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust said: “As today’s panel at the Transport Select Committee highlighted, the real value of HS2 was going to be unlocked with the extensions to Manchester and Leeds. The government’s decision to stop high-speed services in Birmingham means that the main benefits of the project will be lost.

“HS2 promised to free up space on the West Coast mainline allowing improvements to business and leisure travel and rail freight across the country, encouraging companies to relocate to Manchester and Crewe, and increasing employment opportunities across the North. Instead, we’re getting a line from London to Birmingham and the promise of rail congestion for decades to come. Today’s Transport Select Committee demonstrates that the people who understand Britain’s railways remain convinced of the value of HS2.

“Rishi Sunak owes the people of this country an apology. More than that, he owes them a change of heart. We all know Sunak’s good at U-turns, he needs to make one now. Cancel HS2’s cancellation and give Britain the high-speed rail network it deserves.”

The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment with no immediate response.