With HS2 being highly contentious from the start, Transport for Britain set out to re-evaluate the design and purpose to ensure it benefits as much of the UK as possible. The original rationale for HS2 was centred around speed and capacity, however HS2 plans have not reacted to the impact of the pandemic and consequential changing use of the railway. The release of the Integrated Rail Plan in November 2021 further eroded the design of HS2 to the extent that many people thought it not fit for purpose. Scrapping the eastern leg has not only impacted the north of the country, contrary to the government’s Levelling Up Agenda, it has also removed any improvements to connectivity.
In the current economic crisis, there are arguments that HS2 should be scrapped and money used elsewhere. However, plans continue to go ahead unchanged and at this point Transport for Britain believe it is hugely important to raise public awareness and promote changes to the design of HS2.
Addressing its connectivity issues and giving a platform for our plans on how to fully utilise Phase 1. Transport for Britain’s key aims for HS2 are:
- Expanding the scope – by connecting HS2 directly with Cross Country services
- Making Phase 1 more accessible for people living along the route by adding more stations thereby improving connectivity and generating additional revenue
- Reducing the cost of HS2 by delaying Phase 2 and utilising existing track / building shorter sections of new track where possible
- Increasing the revenue by increasing connectivity and accessibility
- Operating a Cross Country service from the north-east and north-west to the south and south-west that bypasses Birmingham and London. Thus creating new direct routes and reducing journey times and the inconvenience of changing trains
- Prioritise Northern Powerhouse Rail objectives and expand connectivity for the north.
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