The Rail Freight Group (RFG) has welcomed the UK Government’s recent announcement regarding Phase 2 of the £32bn High Speed 2 (HS2) project.
The published report sets out the details of route to Leeds, Manchester and beyond, linking into the first phase of HS2, and to the conventional rail network.
HS2 is expected to provide significant benefits for rail freight by releasing capacity on the existing rail network, in particular the West and East Coast Main Lines. This will allow a growth in rail freight services to the major conurbations in the Midlands and North of England, with associated benefits for the environment, and in road decongestion.
Tony Berkeley, RFG Chairman, said: “We are pleased that Government is making progress on the second phase of HS2, and that the need for additional capacity for rail freight on our rail network has been recognised. Efficient rail logistics is vital for supplying consumers in the East Midlands and north of England, and supporting businesses in those areas. As the work develops through the year, we need assurance on how this capacity can be secured for freight in practice, and linked to the existing Strategic Freight Network.”
Phase 1 of the HS2 project, the London-Birmingham link, has faced considerable opposition. Critics dispute the economic case, and argue that swathes of picturesque countryside will be blighted by the railway.
Details of the Government's Phase Two announcement can be found here.