We have submitted the following letter to the Transport Secretary seeking to protect HS2’s Golborne link. Together with the Railway Industry Association and Rail Freight Group, the letter points out that the Golborne link has already been factored into the budget for HS2,
and that axing the line would create a bottleneck north of Crewe on the West Coast Main Line – impacting passengers and freight. The letter goes on to argue that by contradicting the plans for HS2 as set out in November’s Integrated Rail Plan, the Government risks further extending timescales for the project, as well as delaying the wide-ranging benefits that HS2 will deliver to communities in the north of England and Scotland. The letter calls on Secretary of State to confirm the Golborne link will remain part of HS2 as a matter of urgent priority.

The letter in full reads:

Dear Secretary of State,
We write in respect to reports that the “Golborne Link” may be removed from the HS2 project. As you will know, the Golborne Link is specifically included in the HS2 Phase 2b Bill and in the Integrated Rail Plan which was published just last November and stated in paragraph 1.10: “Integrated Rail Plan core pipeline Provision:… HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg (including Golborne link) …”.

It is only six months since the Government re-confirmed its decision to proceed with this part of HS2, following a second fundamental review in three years. To have an important part of the scheme called into question at this stage is therefore deeply concerning.
The Golborne Link has been provided for in the budget for HS2 and is needed to allow adequate capacity on the planned integrated national rail network to fulfil its vital function of handling the nation’s longer distance movements of both passengers and freight.

Without this connection, a bottleneck will be created north of Crewe on the West Coast Main Line. Such an important strategic question of how HS2 and freight services connect into Scotland cannot be left open or uncertain. Both policy makers and businesses have been planning on delivering the revised HS2 scheme as set out in the IRP, under the assumption there would not be any more fundamental strategic changes to the project.

Further uncertainty could also extend timescales for the project, delaying the wide ranging benefits the scheme provides. Given these concerning reports, we would be grateful if you could confirm the Golborne Link will remain part of HS2, as a matter of urgent priority.
Yours sincerely,
High Speed Rail Group
Rail Freight Group
Railway Industry Association