Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, today outlined details of the next phase of the new £32bn high speed rail service (HS2). Mr McLoughlin announced the preferred route for phase two is to take the rail network north from Birmingham on two branches. This will create new stations in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. Construction of phase two is set to begin in 2017 with services expected to cut the travel time between Birmingham and Leeds from two hours to 57 minutes.
Speaking in the House of Commons Mr Timms pressed the Transport Secretary to look again at the issue of connectivity between the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (High Speed 1) and High Speed 2, arguing that Stratford should play a key role in the plans. Referencing an earlier question from the Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, Mr Timms asked: “As I understand, under the current proposals it will be limited to, at most, three trains per hour. As I am sure the Secretary of State will want trains from new HS2 destinations to run beyond London and across the channel, will we not have to do better than that with the interconnection?”
The Transport Secretary told Stephen that he would continue to look into the issue, and noted that some services could run from Old Oak Common to Continental Europe.
Speaking afterwards Stephen said: “I believe Stratford International Station could – and should – be the London hub for high speed rail. Major investment has already been made in Stratford and it would be a superb legacy from the Olympics to see the station fulfil its potential as a major international hub. I will continue to press the government on this issue; utilising Stratford International in this way is an opportunity that simply should not be missed.”