HS2: David Buik calls cutting Birmingham branch a 'gamble'
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Plans to ditch parts of the HS2 are set to be published in the integrated rail plan on Thursday, The Times has found. On Thursday, the rail plan is also set to outline a downgrade to the Northern Powerhouse Rail which will see the new East to West line across the Pennines between Manchester and Leeds scrapped.
A No10 staffer has described the new plan as “hellish” and “a mess”, while one northern Tory MP said it had been “catastrophically badly handled”.
Instead of building an entirely new line as originally planned, existing parts of the route will be upgraded and some new sections will be built.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is expected to announce a £96 billion investment package in northern rail networks to appease northern Tory MPs who want the high-speed scheme to go ahead.
The Telegraph has revealed Mr Shapps will unveil upgrades later this week to the lines between Birmingham and Leeds to reduce journey times.
READ MORE: ‘Disaster at the polls’ – Tory anxiousness as part of HS2 scrapped
However, he is set to ditch plans to turn the route into a high speed 120-mile HS2 Eastern leg.
These plans have been met with backlash from Northern MPs and ministers, with many blaming the Treasury for the blocked upgrades.
One senior minister has called the review “crap”, according to the Times.
He said: “No matter how much glitter we sprinkle on it we’ll be disappointed.”
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One Northern Tory MP added: “People are apoplectic with rage, they’re complete idiots.
“This will go down like a bucket of cold sick in red wall seats.”
“If we keep breaking promises voters will blame us.
“If we can’t deliver on Northern Powerhouse Rail why should anyone believe we’ll ever deliver on anything?
“It’s been catastrophically badly handled.
“The whole thing’s derisory.”
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