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Manchester reacts: The North hit by Government’s latest railway trackback

The North was dealt a sour hand after wide-ranging plans for HS2 were curtailed and the Northern Powerhouse project was scrapped outright, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today.  

The Manchester to Leeds line was relegated from a proposed high-speed shuttle to being granted mere ‘improvements’ and new track, as announced by the government. 

Additionally, the HS2 extension from Crewe to Manchester has been scrapped. 

It seems the new plans are a mixture of high-speed rail and a ‘beefing up’ of existing train services. 

One disgruntled resident said: “It just shows they have neglected the North again, it’s not the first time they’ve done that is it?”

Another fellow commuter said: “They have ditched the Leeds to Manchester line and it seems another broken Tory promise. We’ve wanted these sorts of city links for ages but we’ve had the door shut on us, again.”

Another commuter joked on Twitter: “The HS2 Levelling Up replacement bus service from Leeds to Manchester will depart from platform 4 in approximately 10 years time.”

However, some parts of the rail network have been untouched. Birmingham to Crewe will have a HS2 line and the new devised changes will shave an estimated £18 million from the original cost. 

Shapps also argued services will be shortened and times cut sooner as a result of the government U-turn. 

The HS2 project has been mired with complaints, financial overruns and political fudges ever since the idea was birthed in 2009 by Gordon Brown. It’s clear those misgivings are still felt, even more than ten years on. 

One resident, a Conservative voter from Leigh said: “My opinion in the first place was, it would have been better to improve infrastructure rather than putting HS2 on, which many people can’t afford.”

His son, who lives in Cheshire, has had to move house due to new rail works behind his house as parts of the proposed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse project. 

He believed it wasn’t even worth putting HS2 on in the first place, especially given how many people have had to move house as a result of preparatory works for HS2, many of which aren’t even going ahead as of today’s government announcement. 

“150138 NORTHERN TRAINS” by eastleighbusman is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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Peter Baker
Peter Baker
18 November 2021 6:30 pm

Once again, a kick in the teeth from the so called “Government” for the North. The region needs proper investment to give us capacity AND speed. The UK is so London-centric, and that’s not healthy for a prosperous future.

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