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Mission to take HS2 to Liverpool intensifies

Campaigners for an extension of High Speed 2 to Liverpool are to step up their fight.

The 20 Miles More body will attend all the autumn’s major party conferences as it bids to secure a commitment for the Merseyside link.

MPs this week voted in favour of the hybrid Bill for phase one of HS2, between London and Birmingham, allowing it to pass its second reading in the Commons. 

Andrew Morris, chair of 20 Miles More, said: “The vote means that HS2 will now become a reality. It is vital that Liverpool does not miss out on the opportunity to benefit from this massive investment.

“We are the biggest English city not on the HS2 network and the absence of a link would be extremely damaging to our business competitiveness and the future success of projects like the Liverpool 2 port expansion.”

Do you think HS2 should be extended to Liverpool, or is the project costing enough already? Tell us in the comments box below.

Readers' comments (7)

  • If the benefits of HS2 are to be fully realised the provision of a Liverpool link is paramount. The UK economy can not be rebalanced unless the necessary infrastructure is put in place.

    The problem for the Liverpool City Region arising from the current Phase 2 proposals is not just the question of uncompetitive journey times but the failure to free up any capacity on the existing lines serving the city. Without this capacity, not only is the growth of freight from the Port of Liverpool and elsewhere severely hampered but there is little opportunity to develop the inter city connectivity essential to a modern commercial economy.

    Relying on life-expired Victorian infrastructure as a means of providing a 21st century high speed rail service makes no sense.

    Martin Sloman
    Director - 20 Miles More Ltd.

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  • It is arguable that in order for the Northern cities to compete effectively with London they must harness economies of scale and agglomerate. The Economist recently argued that the division of the North-Western conurbation (Liverpool, Manchester, Wigan, Preston etc) into separate municipal entities was a Victorian anachronism (perhaps akin to life-expired Victorian railways). If we accept this we could start to think of the North-west as one urban entity rather than multiple small fiefdoms; then the Northern cities could begin to work together for the collective benefit of their residents, rather than competing with each other for limited resources.

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  • The decision to exclude Liverpool from HS2 has always baffled me. It seems strange that the current proposal passes only 20 miles from Liverpool, the UK’s 6th largest city, and doesn’t connect directly to the city. Liverpool is a growing port with massive potential for future growth in shipping. HS2 would help to relieve the existing freight capacity issues and give much needed boost in other sectors. An East – West spur would not only better connect Liverpool to London but provide the first phase of a Liverpool – Newcastle line linking the northern cities to each other which is what they really need.

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  • A long time ago I was given a presentation on HS2 prior to planning where the speaker highlighted that rather than linking 'north-south' that HS2 should provide a rapid link between Manchester-Liverpool-Birmingham, with a London 'spur'. Planners are still stuck in the 'hub-and-spoke' mentality that London is the centre, granted it contributes most of UK GDP but projects like these need to think outside the box.

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  • To put every city on the High Speed Line will merely take away the High Speed. Insisting that the line goes to the center of each city will be very expensive and only serves those in those centers. The High Speed line should pause at hubs which are convenient for connection to other lines which serve a multitude of places.
    I am fortunate to have High Speed trains passing my window every 30 mins and to be 0.5mile from the station and that 90% of my journeys to London happen to be to near St Pancras or to Scotland via Kings Cross. It therefore cuts nearly an hour off MY journey times. However it wouldn't if I were going somewhere else.
    I think St Pancras was a mistake - a very beautiful white elephant. HS1 to London should have been a through station waiting for HS2 and with good links to ALL London.
    Not a spur to London but good connections to ALL London.

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  • HS2 as it stands is nowhere as useful as it could be because the connectivity to the existing network is virtually non-existent. A sensible pause and proper planning, something the railway has never really had in this country, is needed.

    The ideas of HSUK are surely worthy of proper consideration.

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  • Liverpool is the largest UK city not directly lined to HS2 and could stand to loose out economically as jobs and investment are drained to better connected cities. Although "classic compatible" trains are proposed to serve Liverpool, because not a single £ of the £50bn project is to be spent on infrastructure dedicated to Liverpool, it will receive no capacity benefits and limited connectivity benefits. In fact, as Liverpool and Warrington trains will continue to use the West Coast Main Line between Winsford and Waver Junction, this will reduce WCML capacity. This section of the WCML is the busiest 2 track section of one of Europe's busiest railways. It is the only highly constrained capacity section of the WCML no relived by HS2. By linkin Liverpool directly this section would be bypassed, and 33k freight path per year released. This is essential to support the £1.8bn mainly private sector Liverpool SuperPort logistics investments currently in progress. Liverpool's economy is outperforming all other core cites - this needs to be supported by HS2 not undermined.

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