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Lichfield tunnelling increases HS2 cost pressure

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Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s capitulation to protestors’ legitimate demands to re-route HS2 Phase One in tunnel near Lichfield must increase the doubts about the future of the entire project. Protestors in other areas are likely to ask for equal treatment.

When HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins unveils his ‘vision’ this month, he is expected to reinforce his commitment to ‘bringing forward construction through Staffordshire forward by six years and making the whole line to Manchester and Leeds operational by 2030’, the Express and Star reported.

[“Fate of Stafford-HS2 link to be revealed”, E&S, October 2, 2014]

He is also expected to confirm Crewe will be chosen over Stoke-on-Trent as a major ‘hub’ station connecting the north.

A key revelation will be whether he decides a link between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line at Lichfield is needed.

If he decides the link is not needed it will cut off any link between the high speed rail line and Stafford but spare residents living between Lichfield and Rugeley where a nine-mile spur linking to the West Coast Main Line is proposed to be built at Handsacre.

Cancelling the ~£1 billion ‘Lichfield’ (Artimage with Handsacre) connection was not mentioned in the March 2014 “HS2 Plus” report. The HS2 Plus proposals to bring forward construction to Crewe seem to have been the result of lobbying by Cheshire East local authority (which outmanoeuvred Stoke-on-Trent council).

Cheshire East engaged Jim Steer’s Steer Davies Gleave company to make a case for a HS2 ‘hub’ at Crewe. However, in August 2014 Mr Steer in effect argued that the Armitage connection should be retained, to allow HS2 trains to reach Stoke-on-Trent. Removing the Armitage link to save money for the Crewe hub could be politically difficult.

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Written by beleben

October 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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