I am pleased to inform the House that we have published our consultation response on taking forward the vision of a Crewe hub.
This response signals how our plans will support that vision and allow for the introduction of an additional HS2 service to Stoke-on-Trent.
To enable this, we will amend our plans for HS2 Phase 2A, from Birmingham to Crewe. This includes 400 metre platforms at Crewe, which allow longer HS2 trains to split and join, opening up opportunities to serve more destinations including Stoke-on-Trent and enabling more people to access high-speed, long-distance services.
We also intend to ask the franchise operator, West Coast Partnership, to include a high-speed service to Stoke- on-Trent in its market development and service plans.
A Crewe hub could generate significant opportunities— not only for Crewe, but also for the surrounding region. To fully realise that vision will need central and local government to work together and require future decisions to be taken as part of Phase 2B.
We welcome the progress being made by Cheshire East Council and the local enterprise partnership in identifying how they could invest in the scheme to ensure the benefits are fully realised.
The steps we are taking today will ensure Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent can benefit fully from HS2 and build on the earlier decision to bring the benefits of HS2 to Crewe from 2027, six years earlier than originally planned.
HS2 will become the new backbone of our national rail network. It will increase capacity on our busy railways and improve connections between our biggest cities and regions. It will support our industrial strategy, generating jobs, skills and economic growth to help build an economy that works for all.