Initial hopes that the link between the end of HS2 Phase 1 just north of Lichfield and the West Coast Mainline might not now be needed following extension of the line to Crewe look set to be dashed following discussions with the Transport Secretary and a non-committal answer in the House of Commons Chamber yesterday (24th March).
“I now believe that as a sop to the Labour Party to keep them on-board with HS2, the so-called ‘temporary’ link between HS2 just north of Lichfield and the west coast main line will be permanent” says Michael Fabricant. “The link will enable Stoke to benefit from HS2.
“Yesterday, in the House of Commons, I told the Transport Secretary that HS2 will transform the leafy lanes of Lichfield into the marshalling yards of Lichfield. I also asked Patrick McLoughlin whether the temporary rail link will now not be needed. His non-answer to that specific question spoke a thousand words.
“This constant changing of the route of HS2 inherited from the last Labour Government ruins people’s lives and shows how inadequate and damaging the route is” adds Michael. “It needs a total rethink.”
The Hansard report of the exchange between Michael Fabricant and Patrick McLoughlin follows:
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): My right hon. Friend will know that Lichfield will be badly affected by HS2, with phase 1 ending and phase 2 beginning in the constituency. As a consequence, a line running from east to west will join what was to be the end of phase 1 with the west coast main line. That work will transform the leafy lanes of Lichfield into the marshalling yards of Lichfield. What hope can he give my constituents that the temporary east-west line will no longer have to go ahead, and that there will be significant improvements in the environmental plans proposed for Lichfield?
Mr McLoughlin: I am always ready to listen to my hon. Friend’s comments and points on these matters. I believe that, overall, HS2 will bring great benefit to the midlands, including Birmingham, which is an important city close to his own city of Lichfield. It is a matter of ensuring that areas such as his can also benefit from high-speed rail.