THE LATEST details of a high-speed rail link set to pass through Staffordshire were unveiled this morning.
The multi-billion pound High Speed 2 project,(HS2) set to halve journey times between London and Birmingham, will be boosted by a proposed extension to the line to Manchester, with the route passing through Staffordshire and a link connecting with services from Crewe.
The £32.7billion pound second phase of HS2, if approved, will pass through Staffordshire near Lichfield before heading onwards North of Stafford and South of Stone and Newcastle before it reaches Crewe.
The route, which should be in operation by 2033 is predicted to bring 100,000 jobs to the area, with trains running at 250mph halving travel times between London and Manchester.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin pledged that the extension to the route would directly serve Stafford, slashing journey times and improving connections to key destinations.
“High Speed Rail is an unparalleled opportunity to secure a step-change in Britain’s competitiveness and this Government will do everything possible to ensure that Stafford benefits by getting the connections they need and deserve to thrive,” said Mr McLoughlin.
“HS2 will be woven into the transport fabric of the nation, accessible to all, including those in Stafford, and I believe these proposed routes north of Birmingham offer a great starting point for the consultation process to follow.
“As with previous consultations, we will work closely with communities and interested parties to find the right balance between delivering essential infrastructure and respecting the rights and justifiable concerns of those who will be most affected by HS2’s construction.”
The Government and HS2 Ltd will now work with MPs, local authorities and other partners – including environment and heritage groups – to refine the proposals followed by an extensive consultation period on the preferred route, stations and depots.