Invest in HS2 or ‘risk creating British Trump’, says Rochdale leader

Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester’s portfolio lead for housing and planning, has warned that lack of investment in Northern high-speed rail could lead to “our own version of Donald Trump”.

Farnell said the Government should give more urgency to the creation of new high-speed rail links in the North, as he called for the HS2 and HS3 proposals to be fast-tracked.

He said: “Millions of Americans living in left-behind areas have grown tired of waiting for change so voted in a way that would make people sit up and take notice. In the UK we have areas like the North of England where people are becoming increasingly frustrated at the vast regional disparities in investment and opportunities we have in this country.

“They watch as London builds another Crossrail or another bridge over the Thames or a new tube line and wonder why big infrastructure like HS2 and HS3 are still being talked about after many years. HS1 from London to the Channel Tunnel opened in 2007, so why are we still talking about another 17 years before HS2 opens?”

Farnell spoke out after revised plans for the proposed HS2 line from London to the North of England were revealed last week. He said HS2 and HS3, the rail link between Liverpool and Hull, should now be prioritised.

He added: “Greater Manchester is pressing for rail improvements, like better rolling stock and increased frequency, but many people in our region are still commuting to work in overcrowded Pacer trains that were deemed unfit for the South of England more than 30 years ago.

“Brexit showed us that there is a feeling of resentment in many areas. We must not add to that. The dangers of not pressing on with high-speed rail links in the North is that it will add to the sense that large parts of this country are being left behind and that wealth and opportunities are being created elsewhere. The government must act quickly or we will end up with our own version of Donald Trump.”

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HS2 is unnecessary; HS3 is vital.

By Tony Heyes

I agree with his sentiments, unfortunately large parts of the North have already been left behind and a report this week highlighted that the North East and Yorkshire had lagged behind the NW. So we need a clear universal policy and plan to include us all.So we may all succeed.

By Man on bicycle

Liverpool should be a priority !!

By Ronnie

Two hours to London now or one and a half after spending over £50 billion. Now that’s value for money! It will still take half a day to go from Leeds to Liverpool……… weather permitting.

By Jim McMillan

There is some credibility to the sentiment. But! Always a but. The north needs HS3 ASAP, not HS2. HS3, in a high-speed form, will benefit the North immensely. A new line into Liverpool’s new Superport to get the freight out quick and cheap is urgently needed.

Then local rail. If Leeds was in Germany it would have had a metro decades ago. It only has buses. That is disgusting in this day and age.
Local and HS2 with connections t all the regions airports greatly needed.

The biggest benefits will accrue to London – as always. HS2 phase 1, London to Birmingham, will give London “commuter routes” far greater capacity. The current WCML south of Birmingham and the ECML then become commuter lines relegated from mainlines. The MML is now partially a London commuter line with Thameslink running on it. HMG would never spend £22bn (cost of phase 1) on a proposed London commuting scheme. The rest of the country would be up in arms – especially Liverpool which had 30% of its metro dropped 40 years ago – they are still waiting for it to be finished.

HS2 is how HMG thought they could worm their way around it, by converting existing mainlines into commuter lines, under the guise of high-speed rail which is ‘supposed’ to benefit all the UK.

Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, etc, need proper commuter lines, and decent local metro rail, not another fast line to London.

By John Burns

Very informative John. I share the frustration – the level of infrastructure spend per capita in the North is so far out of kilter with London that the rebalancing of economies will never happen. Indeed it probably wouldn’t happen even if we reversed the spending patters but to see the gap increasing is a very sad reflection on how our country has been managed by Conservative, Coalition and Labour governments. I think regionally there is too much competition and the North needs to work together to get a collective voice and really push Government harder. It is true that a Trump kind of character emerges in these situations. We had some big spending initiatives throughout the 2000’s but it is sad to think how much the focus has been on London.


HS3 should be prioritised as this links the cities of the north with each other. HS2 need to be very critically examined because there are many shortcomings to the present plans. Stations need to be in city centres, in Sheffield and Stoke in particular as the parkway stations being proposed do very little to promote business in the cities hey are meant to serve. If HS2 has a Manchester airport station, then it needs to be at airport and not a distance away that requires intermediate transport. Journey times to London are already very fast, but between the cities of the north are far to slow. You cannot get a direct train from Stoke to either Liverpool or Nottingham without changing trains.

By Graham Nalty

When phase 1, not even phase 2a, is completed, London has what it wants – the removal from the WCML of long haul trains from Scotland, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, etc. This converts the WCML into a South East commuter line.

Then HMG will can the rest of HS2. So HS2 to Lichfield and then onto the northern part of the WCML. A few minutes faster to Liverpool and Manchester on a pointed train with flash writing on the side. Big deal.

By John Burns

The North is now politically polarised to the South. How this division can be dissolved is by bringing the North to levels of South Eastern infrastructure, not by getting to and from the regions fast. This is achieved by building HS3, finishing off Liverpool’s metro (4.5 miles of tunnel and miles of trackbed awaiting trains after 40 years), connecting all the airports ‘directly into the terminals’ by fast rail to all major towns and cities. Yes, the North needs 3 or 4 airports as the South East does, not just Manchester as HMG thinks.

Over 60% of containers that enter Southern ports are destined for the North of England. It will stay that way unless a HS3 line is run into Liverpool with a few lines built into the just opened Superport. The Superport can handle two 20,000 container ships simultaneously. The averaged sized ship is 5,000 containers. But the containers cannot get out the port fast enough as the rail connections are poor. So the two large berths will take ships that can handle only 13,000 containers at most. Most of the time a lot less. The port was funded by ‘private’ money. Unless HMG helps out major investment will go elsewhere.

Sunderland voted from Brexit, as a protest of being disenfranchised. In the last election, inner-city Liverpool’s turnout was very low. People have given up and will turn to an empty head that promises Utopia. Hitler promise Utopia. Trump promised a Mexican free Utopia surrounded by a beautiful wall. Many followed the man to the wall.

Sarah Palin said Brexit was the impetus for Trump’s win – the disenfranchised. We will end up with our own version of Donald Trump, unless the North gets decent infrastructure, and ‘internal’ transport has to be a big part of it.

By John Burns

If we are building improved rail connections to all the North’s airports we should do the same for the North’s ports. Accelerate and increase the spec of the proposed rail connection to the strategically important inland multi-modal Port Salford, 3MG in Widnes, coastal fishing port in Grimsby and in particular developing a new global freight gateway in Hull. The north will need as many shipping portals as possible if it is to thrive.

By C Birdseye

HS 2 The biggest misdirection of public infrastructure spending ever.But, MP’s of all parties have passed it through the Commons and now the Lords.They of course have the knowledge experience and intellect regarding our railways and managing our taxpayers money.Philip Hammond has recently put forward policies of more decades of fiscal irresponsibility .
If it’s such a great idea where is the clamour from private investors?
Years of under investment mainly in northern areas need to be tackled before blowing Billions on one line.
A country that works for everyone?Think on that as you rattle along on your Pacers.
I predict that the first stage of HS2 will be years behind schedule,to the point that as commented on by John Prescott, north of Birmingham may never happen.

By Jeff Smith

There seems to be more departures from the HS2 team than there will ever be from the stations themselves. Something must be “up” somewhere with all these high level management resignations?

By Man on bicycle

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