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Railways: North West

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the Statement of 11 March 2010, Official Report, columns 446-50, on high speed rail, when he expects work to commence north of where the proposed high speed line joins the existing West Coast Mainline north of Lichfield to provide a high speed rail service to Leeds and to Manchester. (322687)

Subject to public consultation and parliamentary approval, the initial London to Birmingham high speed line would join onto the West Coast Main Line near Lichfield. This would allow high speed services to run up the West Coast Main Line to destinations including Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Construction of this initial leg would not start until after the opening of the Crossrail line from 2017 at the earliest.

Following on from this initial leg, High Speed Rail also proposes an initial core high speed network which extends further north, with high speed lines extending beyond the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds. The initial core high speed network is now subject to detailed planning and technical work and it is not therefore possible at this stage to state when construction of this section of the network might commence.