How will Crossrail 2 change the UK?
Last week, George Osborne approved the north-east to south-west railway plan “Crossrail 2” in his 8th budget. He stated London would “grind to a halt” without it.
Crossrail 2, the £27bn rail upgrade, will create a link through London from north to south. Connections will include Hertfordshire to Surrey and will continue to go through central London stations such as King’s Cross, Victoria and Clapham Junction.
The Treasury will provide £80m to develop Crossrail 2 and Transport for London will match this. The development came as the National Infrastructure Commission, which was set up by the Government in 2015, released a report calling for “immediate and very significant investment” for transport in the North of England. The plan is for longer term transformation in order to cut journey times, improve reliability and increase capacity. It is planned that the line will open by 2033.
Alongside confirmation of the Crossrail 2 project go-ahead, the Chancellor also backed the HS3 high-speed rail link project. The rail link is to run between Manchester and Leeds as part of the £300m transport infrastructure package the Chancellor has budgeted for his “Northern Powerhouse” plans.
The aim of the HS3 link is to “rebalance the country” by addressing the north-south divide and attracting investment to the north. Osborne believes that improving transport links will “be a huge boost to the economy of the north of England and the whole of the United Kingdom”.
Lord Adonis, the former Labour transport secretary and chair of the NIC, said that the HS3 line will bring journey times from Manchester to Leeds down to 30 minutes. He said the HS3 project “will be a mixture of improving the current line and stretches of new line to deliver two objectives: big cuts in journey times between the big northern cities, from Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east, and also big improvements in capacity, so you can have much more regular trains as well as faster trains.” A full blueprint of the HS3 will be drawn up next year.
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