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High speed stations could be privately financed

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has said that private companies could be encouraged to fund stations along the route of a proposed high speed rail line.

In a Commons written answer, Hammond hinted that carriages and interchanges could also be privately financed.

The government is committed to a national high speed rail (HSR) network for the whole of Britain but acknowledges that it will have to be undertaken in stages because of the massive cost of the project.

Responding to a question from Labour’s John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) Hammond said “all options” for funding the project will be looked at.

The previous government set up the HS2 company to analyse the case for a new high-speed line and in March Labour ministers proposed a £30bn initiative following the firm’s report.

Mr Hammond said: “The report published by HS2 in March argued that the most cost efficient way of funding the route elements of a HSR network would be through the public purse.

“However, the government will explore all options for funding the project.

“In particular, we will explore the possibility that other very substantial elements - such as stations, interchanges and rolling stock - could be funded in part or in whole by the private sector or other third parties.”

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