There is speculation this morning that the Oakervee review into the future of the High Speed Rail Link between London and the North will recommend that the eastern spur link to Leeds will be abandoned.
According to a report in this mornings Financial Times:
“The route beyond the East Midlands to Leeds and Sheffield would be axed and train speeds cut by 40mph in an attempt to save more than £10bn, according to people close to the panel, which is led by former HS2 chairman Douglas Oakervee. The panel is also exploring whether to ditch an expensive track development into Euston station in central London and instead ending the line at a proposed new hub in west London.”
A spokesman for Transport for the North says:
As indicated in the HS2 Phase 2b command paper, there is spare capacity on both the Western and Eastern legs of HS2 that could be used to deliver wider regional connectivity. It would therefore be a huge missed opportunity if the current ambition for HS2 and the benefits it could deliver for the North East of England are scaled back; and such a decision would be seen as out of touch with what northern leaders would expect as part of a truly 21st century pan-northern rail network.
“In Transport for the North’s submission to the Oakervee Review we have asked that in any review of governance structures of HS2 that TfN is included on the HS2 Board so that the North has a direct say over future development and construction of the northern legs. This would better prevent decisions being taken that are not in the interests of the North of England.
“Together, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will make significant direct contributions to the connectivity and capacity of the UK, and they will provide new high speed services across and from the North that better meet customer expectations, as well as support future economic growth for decades to come.”