In the House of Commons yesterday (18th September), Michael Fabricant explains to the House of Commons that Phase 1 of HS2 does not end at Birmingham following a number of statements by MPs claiming that it does.
Michael said to the transport minister, Richard Holden: “May I remind the House, journalists, and the Chairman of the Transport Committee that the area under discussion which is beyond phase 1 does not end in Birmingham—it goes north of Birmingham and then joins the west coast main line at Handsacre, just by Lichfield. If HS2 is abandoned at that point, high-speed trains can still run down from Manchester on the existing west coast main line and join the high-speed line at Handsacre.
“Does that not make good economic sense? Will the Minister please pass that on to the Treasury?”
Richard Holden replied: “My hon. Friend is quite right; that is exactly what would happen in that scenario. I will pass on the point he makes to the Treasury.”
Commenting after, Michael says: “By stopping any further work on HS2 at the end of Phase 1 – at Handsacre and not Birmingham – it will save the country tens of billions of pounds. High speed trains could run down from Manchester at 140mph or more speeding up to 180mph when HS2 line is reached. That would make good economic sense given that rail usage is now reduced with more people working from home.
“If this plan is adopted, residents in the Ridwares and Abbots Bromley in the Lichfield constituency will not have to feel the pain that those living around Lichfield have had to suffer.
“I know there is strong debate on this subject in Cabinet, but I am told a final decision will have to be made in advance of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 22nd November.”