South Manchester MP John Leech believes plans for a high-speed rail network in the North West will be ‘good news’ for the city’s economy – and is urging the government to implement the report alongside the current HS2 plans.
The proposed plans, dubbed HS3, by executive chairman of the HS2 railway project Sir David Higgins would create faster links between Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.
And Mr Leech has hailed the new transport scheme insinuating the new report will benefit the economy and create new jobs which will help provide security for people in the North.
“This report is good news for Manchester jobs and the economy, and I urge the Government to accept it on the same timetable as HS2,” said the Liberal Democrat MP.
“I have long argued that Manchester and the North need to maximise the number of jobs and growth it creates from HS2 and this report on HS3 spells out how that is done.
“This is another boost for Manchester, coming on top of the Greater Manchester City Deal which was announced in 2012 and £200m extra funding for local transport schemes.”
If these plans are acted upon, future North West rail times will be halved with journeys between Manchester and Leeds lasting around 26minutes as opposed to the current 55minutes.
The number of trains in service could also be doubled.
Phase one of HS2 is due to be completed by 2026 with HS3 originally scheduled for completion between 2032 and 2033, although Sir David is hoping to bring the project forward.
Lord Peter Smith, chair of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, has spoken of further advantages the scheme brings to the Manchester area.
“In this new report Sir David states his support for a new HS2 route into Manchester city centre via Manchester Airport and we believe this will provide tangible, long-term benefits for the region as a whole,” he said.
“HS2 and the two Greater Manchester stations will stimulate unprecedented growth and
regeneration and will put Manchester at the heart of a Northern Powerhouse.”
Manchester and North Cheshire regional chairman, Richard Gregg of Federation of Small Businesses, believes now the plans have been drawn up and announcements made it is time for action to be taken.
“There is widespread consensus that transport infrastructure in the North of England needs to be brought up to speed, and more frequent, reliable trains between Manchester and Leeds would also serve to ease congestion on the region’s motorways,” he said.
“However, this is just a starting point and it is important and timely that we move from recommendations and announcements to actions.
“Continued regional growth in the North of England depends on the Government taking decisive action to make it an even better place to do business and better connected cities could only help support this aim.”
The announcement of HS3 is the second major addition to Greater Manchester’s local transport after £200million extra funding was awarded back in 2012 as part of the Greater Manchester City Deal.
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