City Leaders strike back at “disappointing” HS3 announcement
According to Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool is being “by-passed by an investment that will fail to reach its supposed purpose” if high-speed rail does not come to the city.
Chairman of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins said had previously said that high-speed rail links between the north and London should “only be one step” in the overall strategy to improve transport connectivity between Liverpool, Manchester, and Yorkshire. However, he did not recommend linking HS2 to Liverpool.
Anderson is reportedly “profoundly disappointed” by the announcement made in spite of “a great deal of rhetoric about a Northern Powerhouse”.
Mayor Anderson said:
“We are once again being by-passed by an investment that will fail to realise its supposed purpose.”
“Liverpool has to be an integral part of any meaningful HS3 project. We are the UK’s western trading gateway, and as David Higgins recognises, the transformational impact of our investment in the Liverpool 2 port expansion on the north’s freight-handling can only be achieved through additional rail capacity.
“A high-speed line to Liverpool would give us that capacity, connect us to HS2 and be the logical first phase for HS3.”
The Liverpool Mayor pledged to continue to make the case for Liverpool as part of the High Speed rail network, saying that this was an argument and a bid that the city “must win”.
Business-led campaign group 20 Miles More stated that it was not surprised by the announcement, but that they were nonetheless disappointed.
Chairman Andrew Morris said:
“We very much agree with the view expressed by Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson that the idea that Liverpool might not even be part of this investment would be shocking and illogical,” said chairman Andrew Morris.
“We started this campaign with a very simple call for 20 miles of additional track to take HS2 to the UK’s western gateway and one of its fastest growing city economies.
“That call is now stronger than ever. That link needs to be considered as a next stage of HS2, and not simply an element of HS3 which, at the moment is nothing more than an uncosted aspiration.”
Detailed plans for the second phase of HS2 will be set out by the government next year.
Words: Peter Cribley