ICE’s response to government consultation pushes for full high speed route to be built
The ICE this week came out on the side of the High Speed 2 (HS2) project to build a high speed rail line from London to the north of England.
It announced its backing in response to the government’s high speed rail consultation document, High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain’s Future, published in February. The public consultation closes on the 29 July.
But the ICE said that the project will only succeed if the government commits to the full ‘Y’-shaped route which runs from London to Birmingham before splitting into routes to Leeds and Manchester.
Integration with local transport networks and a focus on the electrified line running on low-carbon energy sources are also key, the ICE’s consultation response said.
ICE high speed rail working group chair Steven Hayter said: “The opportunity should be taken to invest in growth by providing a new railway that is fit for the 21st century - significantly increasing capacity, strengthening connectivity between Britain’s city regions and linking up with the Trans-European rail network.
Time to invest
“The time to invest is now, and we endorse the government’s strategy.”
The ICE is advising planners to consider opening parts of the route early as sections of the line are finished.
This would speed up track and train testing, and enable earlier financial returns and benefits for freight and passengers, it said.
The ICE’s response was informed by almost 100 individual contributions from members.
ICE regions also carried out a range of activities to get members’ views. Five regions held member consultation workshops and events.
A series of hearings then followed to allow the panel to test the points raised by ICE members with key experts and organisations.