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Transport Secretary updates House of Commons on HS2 progress
Image courtesy of HS2 Ltd

Transport Secretary updates House of Commons on HS2 progress

The Transport Secretary has provided the House of Commons with an update on the progress of HS2, including an announcement of a consultation on the working draft environmental statement for Phase 2b.

In a statement to Parliament, Chris Grayling provided information on on each phase of the project, described as something that “will be the backbone of our country’s rail network.”

Mr Grayling said: “The first major railway to be built north of London for 150 years, it will improve connectivity between our major cities and increase rail capacity where it is most needed by adding extra services onto our busiest routes.

“Once completed, HS2 is planned to serve around 300,000 people each day. No alternative transport option can achieve such an increase in rail capacity and connectivity.”

In the week that HS2 Ltd released designs for new stations in Birmingham and Solihull, the Transport Secretary also gave the House of Commons updates as to other significant developments.

For Phase I, from West Midlands to London, design enabling works continue, while major procurements have included issuing an invitation to tender for rolling stock.

Elsewhere, HS2 Ltd has awarded design contracts for four new stations in Birmingham and London, amongst many other highlights.

For Phase 2a, the hybrid Bill for the acceleration of the delivery of the West Midlands to Crewe line passed its second reading in January; the government will respond to the Select Committee’s second special report in Autumn, while legislation will return to the House in spring 2019 for further consideration.

Finally in his speech to the House of Commons, Mr Grayling talked about progress on Phase 2b – which is “significant” and this phase will “complete the full ‘Y network’ and deliver the full benefits of the scheme in terms of capacity, connectivity and economic growth across the UK.”

He also announced the consultation on the working draft environmental statement for Phase 2b – considered a key part of preparing the future hybrid Bill to seek powers for its construction.

Lasting for 10 weeks, this consultation gives those affected the opportunity to review and comment on assessments of the environmental impacts from this particular phase.

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