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Osborne calls for £7bn HS3 in the north

Chancellor George Osborne has called for a third high-speed rail link.

The proposal could cost up to £7bn, though the chancellor said it could be delivered cheaper if existing lines were used.

The link would connect Manchester and Leeds as part of a wider plan to create a hub among the north’s major cities, which could compete with London. Road improvements, and ultimately high-speed rail links to Sheffield and Liverpool, may also feature.

Osborne told the BBC the building of the link should be considered as part of a review into the second phase of the £43bn HS2 project.

The chancellor will provide more detail on the proposed scheme, which would be the UK’s third high-speed line, in a speech in Manchester this evening.

Osborne will say: “We need to think big. We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west – to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

“As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high-speed rail link. Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds. Based on the existing rail route, but speeded up with new tunnels and infrastructure. A third high speed railway for Britain.”

Osborne will be joined this evening by HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins who has argued for speeding up the northern sections of that project.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Robert M J Millar

    can someone please apply the basis engineering principle of making the units of measure CLEAR. What is a Billion???????? a UK gallon does not equal a US gallon, so are we talking US Billions or UK Billions (ie 1,000,000,000,000).

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  • Completely in favour of this extension but yet another change in brief for HS2 or is it now HS2+?
    Are we going to plan the entire future network in this adhoc way?
    If Liverpool- Hull is to be sensibly planned then it needs to interface with an HS2 alignment that maximises the opportunity of this planned extension. This welcome proposal makes a station at Meadowhall rather than Sheffield centre even less fit for purpose.A 'Norther way' that misses the fourth largest city.
    How many times do we have to remind Govt that this transpennine link already fundamentally exists! (it's called the Woodhead line.)

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  • An HS3, if taken up, will be most effective if it offers through running well beyond Manchester and Leeds/Sheffield. This is a similar issue to that raised by HS2, about the risks of dead-end termini versus through running to access further origins and destinations. and spread economic gains It will be helpful, going forwards, to get clarity about whether HS1, HS2 and HS3 are to emerge as individual stand-alone lines or as part of a 21st Century joined-up UK network benefiting further key economic growth objectives and locations. The story so far, HS2-HS1, is far from encouraging.
    Jonathan Roberts, JRC Ltd,

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