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HS2 phase 2A approval should increase Northern rail freight capacity

Rail freight capacity in the North of England should be set to increase, following the approval of the second phase of High Speed 2 last week.

The High Speed 2 (HS2) Phase 2a Bill was given Royal Assent last Thursday (11 February 2021), meaning that work can start to build the next phase of the new high-speed rail line between Crewe and Birmingham. The law was signed exactly one year after government gave its green light to deliver HS2.

Britain’s new high-speed railway has the potential to release considerable extra capacity for freight on the existing rail network, according to a report published by Logistics UK last autumn. HS2: The case for released freight capacity not only examines the way in which the extra capacity will be released; it proposes ways to enhance the role of freight in the process and the outcomes too.

“The approval of the latest stretch of the railway from the Midlands up into the north of England bodes well for future rail freight capacity in this region,” said Zoe McLernon, Multimodal Policy Manager at Logistics UK. “Rail freight is growing steadily in the UK, but it could be a lot more and Logistics UK is campaigning to unlock the unrealised potential of the rail network for the logistics sector.

“Ever since HS2 received the green light from government last year, Logistics UK has been calling for a guarantee that capacity on the existing network will be made available for freight.”

Rebalancing Britain’s economy has often been stated as a key strategic aim of HS2. The hope is that better connectivity between London, the Midlands and the North of England will help level up the country, creating new jobs and acting as a catalyst for economic growth.

Commenting on last week’s approval of the second phase of HS2, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This vital project is at the heart of the government’s commitments to build back better from the pandemic, tackle the north-south divide and drive growth across the country.

“The signing of the Phase 2a Bill into law is a historic milestone for this ambitious project, which is already creating and supporting thousands of jobs across the UK. I look forward to seeing spades in the ground to get this section built and deliver the benefits of high-speed rail to the north as swiftly as possible.”


Published On: 18/02/2021 17:00:07


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