HS2 Phase 2a’s inclusion in the Queen’s Speech is good news, and shows that we can make progress on getting HS2’s benefits to the North and smashing the north-south divide. We must now press on, get HS2 built and bring the connectivity, capacity and jobs that benefit the country. Our hope is that Government will commit to deliver HS2 in full.

Rail reform and High Speed Rail 2 (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill

  • Whilst acknowledging the ongoing Oakervee Review, the High Speed Rail 2 (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill is to be revived in this Parliament.  The Bill passed through the House of Commons and had completed Second Reading in the House of Lords before the dissolution of the previous Parliament. Following revival, it would begin its next stages in the House of Lords.

The main elements of the High Speed Rail 2 (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill are:

  • Powers to compulsorily acquire the land needed for the railway, construct the railway, and operate it
  • Deemed planning permission to deliver the scheme. The details of planning will be developed on a site-by-site basis in coordination with the local planning authority
  • Setting out the way railway regulation will apply to HS2
  • Modification, or disapplication, of existing legislation that would apply to construction of the scheme, reflecting the fact that the scheme will have been approved by Parliament

Other elements of the Rail Reform Bill of interest include:

  • Williams Review: A commitment to publish a White Paper informed by the Review’s recommendations next year, which will include simplification of the rail franchising model
  •  Major Rail Projects: A commitment to investments in major projects, including
    • The Midlands Rail Hub
    • Northern Powerhouse Rail
    • Reopening of lines and stations closed under the Beeching cuts
    • Significant upgrades to urban commuter and regional services outside of London

You can see the Railway Industry Association’s response here