Minister refuses to confirm eastern leg of HS2

Minister refuses to confirm eastern leg of HS2

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson has refused to be drawn on the fate of the eastern leg of HS2, which is planned to connect the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire, with a terminus at Leeds. There has been lively speculation for several months that this part of the high speed project is set to be placed on hold and even abandoned, but the government has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours. A further opportunity to discover the truth came yesterday during questions in the House of Commons. when shadow transport minister Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi said: ‘When reports surfaced over the summer that Ministers planned to mothball the eastern leg, I was absolutely shocked. A U-turn, Mr Speaker? Another broken promise from this government? Surely not. Being the helpful person that I am, I want to help the government put this scandalous rumour to bed once and for all. Can the Minister, rather than giving the evasive answer that he gave me last year, confirm that the eastern leg of HS2 will be built in full, on time and on budget?’ Mr Stephenson replied: ‘As the Prime Minister announced, we are working on the integrated rail plan, which is progressing well. It is only right that Ministers take time to fully consider all the evidence fromall the stakeholders, regional leaders, the National Infrastructure Commission and the government’s own analysis before making a decision. This is a cross-government decision, but we intend to publish the integrated rail plan soon.’ Meanwhile, a petition calling for HS2 to be abandoned entirely which has attracted more than 155,000 signatures will be debated in Parliament on Monday.

Engineers worked flat out to repair cable damage

Train services were disrupted between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley after overhead power cables were damaged on the northern section of the Cross City line. Network Rail apologised to passengers yesterday afternoon as its engineers worked flat out to repair the 25,000-volt cables at Gravelly Hill. Around 1.7km of electric cable was damaged. The cause has not been revealed, but the scale of the repairs meant trains couldn’t run on the line for the rest of the day. West Midlands Railway provided rail replacement buses and tickets were also being accepted on some local bus routes. Services on the Cross City line south between New Street, Bromsgrove and Redditch were not affected.