The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has backed the proposed route for HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester – although it says more work is needed on how some planned new stations would integrate with existing infrastructure.
In its response to the government’s consultation, the organisation also urged the government to move swiftly with plans to connect Scotland to the network, and to make sure each new station is ‘future proofed” to allow for further expansion.
But overall it said that HS2 was a suitable option for increasing rail capacity, connectivity and access to new markets.
In detail, it pointed out that the proposed Leeds New Lane station is quite remote from the existing Leeds City Station and the city centre, while the proposed station for Manchester Airport is separated from the airport itself by the M56 motorway, and so “would not offer easy interchange with the airport terminals or existing rail services”.
It also feels the case for providing the Liverpool city region with a dedicated HS2 route needs to be examined further.
And it said the government needs to engage in discussions with stakeholders about how regional lines could be improved once capacity has been released by the new line.
Steven Hayter, chair of ICE’s high speed rail expert panel, Steven Hayter, said: “Increasing capacity and strengthening connectivity for the long-term benefit of the UK rightly sit at the heart of this project, so it is important that we get this right. Stations and connections with the existing rail network should be placed to ensure that once HS2 becomes fully operational, it is part of an integrated railway network, offering maximum benefit to the travelling public.”