HS2 could bring all-round benefits says report

Concept designs of what the HS2 train could look like
Concept designs of what the HS2 train could look like

Yorkshire could benefit from a series of new and improved train services when the proposed new high-speed rail route to the North is completed, according to a new report.

Network Rail’s report on the impact of HS2 on existing rail journeys found new and quicker services were a potential by-product of extra capacity freed up by passengers swapping to the high-speed link from London to Leeds, via Sheffield, and from London to Manchester.

Network Rail said over 100 towns and cities on Britain’s existing railway lines could benefit from quicker, more frequent journeys and better connections when HS2 is completed, which is planned to be by 2032.

The report on released capacity set out initial proposals for how HS2 could be integrated into the national rail network once the second phase connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester is complete.

It sets out three broad approaches – minimal change to existing services; an incremental approach removing any duplicated long-distance services on the existing network to improve and add services elsewhere; and an “integrated connectivity” proposal which would see HS2 become the centrepiece of services with a “hub and spoke” model linking into the new high-speed route.

Coun James Lewis, West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority chairman, said: “Network Rail lay out the extra trains that could serve Yorkshire utilising the capacity released by HS2. New services would be very welcome and support our economy.

“It’s vital that right from the start we are clear about our expectations that HS2 delivers significant improvements to rail services in Yorkshire.”

Network Rail group strategy director Paul Plummer said: “HS2 provides an opportunity to fundamentally reshape our railway in a way that incremental improvements simply cannot deliver.

“It is a chance to stop playing catch-up on capacity and instead look at how the rail network could deliver a step-change improvement towards key national goals – economic growth, reduced carbon emissions and an improved quality of life for communities and individual passengers.”