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Rail Partners responds to Prime Minister's HS2 announcement

04 October 2023

Commenting on the Prime Minister's announcement on HS2, Andy Bagnall, chief executive of Rail Partners said:

‘A decision of this magnitude will have consequences felt for generations by the rail industry, its supply chain, passengers and freight customers.

‘While reinvestment in other regional rail schemes is a significant consolation, the decision to reduce investment in rail and divert funds to road schemes feels counterintuitive as we look to attract people to move away from carbon intensive modes of transport.

‘Passengers in regional cities will now not receive the full benefit of the connectivity that the northern section of HS2 offered for people travelling north and south between Manchester and Birmingham. We will need to see more detail on the impact for passengers travelling east and west between Hull and Liverpool.

‘The cancellation of the northern section means less capacity for rail freight and ultimately more lorries on our roads, with businesses seeking to decarbonise their supply chains limited in their options to move good off the roads and onto rails.

‘In the wake of this decision, it is even more critical that government takes further action to support regrowth of the railway by evolving rail contracts to allow train operators to better deliver for passengers. It must also set an ambitious freight growth target to maintain investor confidence and outline which strategic freight projects will be taken forward to create capacity in the absence of HS2.’

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