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Mayor of Greater Manchester reacts to HS2 announcement

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has responded to the government's confirmation that the HS2 high-speed rail link will be built, the first phase between London and Birmingham with a second phase going onto Manchester and Leeds.

Andy said: "The Prime Minister has today listened and gone a considerable distance towards the case I made at the weekend for a new, integrated East  – West – North – South railway for the North of England. That is why I welcome what he has announced today.

"However, there are a number of issues on which we are seeking further clarification.

"First – Manchester Piccadilly. While we support HS2 in principle, it was designed as a North - South railway and consequently has never offered right solution for new, modern East - West links at Manchester Piccadilly. There is now an opportunity to get that right and we ask the government to work with us on a redesign of Manchester Piccadilly station, based on analysis commissioned by Sir Richard Leese and Manchester City Council. 

"Second – timetable. The Prime Minister gave a firm timetable for HS2 from London to Birmingham, however there was no such commitment for the North. We want to see the construction of Northern Powerhouse Rail fast-tracked, in line with the commitment the Prime Minister made in Manchester shortly after entering office. We cannot be left waiting years for this investment and the resulting jobs. 

"Third – line of route for Northern Powerhouse Rail. While we were pleased to hear mention of high-speed rail to Liverpool we notice that Prime Minister did not mention Bradford. This is important because the Bradford route means that Northern Powerhouse Rail will be a brand new line serving Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Bradford and Leeds - which is the clear preference of Northern Leaders.

"Finally, big promises on future infrastructure must not distract from the need to urgently upgrade our creaking Victorian railway, which is ruining journeys on a daily basis. The creation of two new platforms at Piccadilly is a shovel ready project that will benefit the whole North. The government needs to stop dragging its feet on this and get these platforms built."

Article Published: 11/02/2020 15:08 PM