High-speed rail project will see parts of the North receive a worse rail service, report warns (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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HS2 rail project will see parts of the North receive a worse rail service, report warns
A CONTROVERSIAL high-speed rail project could see parts of the North receive a worse rail service, a report has warned.
The Government-backed £42.6bn High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) scheme could leave dozens of towns and cities – including Durham – facing longer journey times and fewer services, according to research released by The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).
HS2 is intended to deliver a revolutionised railway system that will see major cities in the North and the Midlands connected to the Europe-wide high speed network.
By 2026, the project aims to deliver 225mph trains between London and Birmingham , with a Y-shaped network onto Leeds and Manchester anticipated to be in place by 2033.
However, HS2 is under fire from critics who have slammed spiraling costs and accused the government of mismanaging the scheme.
The TPA say a number of Northern cities and towns will suffer worse rail services as a result, with Durham expected to see longer journey times as a result of more stops, despite having no London high speed services.
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Apart from the astronomical and unjustifiable cost to millions of families across the country who would never use HS2, the Government’s own plans show how many towns and cities would in fact be left with a worse service if the line goes ahead.
“The project should be abandoned now before any more taxpayers’ cash is squandered on what risks being the most expensive white elephant of all time.”
This week, Labour’s Ed Balls also expressed doubts, saying the party may withdraw support after seeing the bill for the scheme soar from £34bn to £42.6bn.
Proponents of the scheme say it will provide better journeys between cities, create space on crowded routes and generate a number of economic benefits and jobs.
It is estimated that the North-East will share a £7bn annual economic boost as a result of the project, with a five per cent leap in North-East jobs anticipated by 2033.
Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander has claimed the project is essential for Britain and – along with other transport projects – “absolutely essential to the long-term future of our economy”.
The new chairman of HS2 was named today as Network Rail’s current chief executive Sir David Higgins.
Sir Higgins will take over as chairman in the new year, with an annual salary of £591,000.
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