Government plans for a high speed rail line to Manchester and Leeds have been welcomed as good for freight by the Rail Freight Group.
The publication of the 211-mile northern phase two route of HS2 is part of the government’s mid-term review. It follows the confirmation a year ago of HS2’s 140-mile southern phase one route between London and Birmingham, which starts construction in four years and opens to passengers in 13 years. The routes from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, will open six years after that.
The RFG said HS2 is expected to provide significant benefits for rail freight by releasing capacity on the existing rail network, in particular the West and East Coast Main Lines. This will allow a growth in rail freight services to the major conurbations in the Midlands and North of England, with associated benefits for the environment, and in road decongestion.
Chairman Tony Berkeley said: “We are pleased that Government is making progress on the second phase of HS2, and that the need for additional capacity for rail freight on our rail network has been recognised. Efficient rail logistics is vital for supplying consumers in the East Midlands and North of England, and supporting businesses in those areas. As the work develops through the year, we need assurance on how this capacity can be secured for freight in practice, and linked to the existing Strategic Freight