The Department for Transport appears to have dismissed calls by Liverpool city region leaders to be allowed to self-fund a link into the High Speed 2 rail network.
The think tank ResPublica and mayor Joe Anderson yesterday published a report saying it would, if permitted by government, use tax increment financing to pay for the extra 20 miles of high speed track needed to directly plug Liverpool into the new line.
In response, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “HS2 is a transformative transport investment that will benefit passengers across the North West, with high speed trains serving Liverpool from the day the Phase One route opens in 2026. This, together with our ambitious plans to transform east-west rail links through Northern Powerhouse Rail, will help deliver a rail revolution for Liverpool and the North.”
The DfT added that the train time from London to Liverpool is currently 2hrs 14mins. HS2 Phase One, London to Birmingham, opening in 2026, will deliver a 1hr 46mins journey time. When Phase 2a is completed in 2027 journey times fall to 92 minutes.
A spokesman for ResPublica responded today: “’Whilst the journey times from London to Liverpool will be reduced by virtue of the shortening of the journey between London and Birmingham, this does not provide Liverpool with either the connectivity or capacity it needs to fulfill its economic potential and become a catalyst for both regional and national economic growth.
“Without a dedicated high speed connection, the benefits of the huge Liverpool 2 port investment will not be realised, and the city will become a second or third tier economic player.
“ResPublica’s detailed report outlines an economically viable method for connecting Liverpool into the emerging high speed network delivering further reductions in journey times to London, and creating the first stage in the vitally important East West HS3 link. This is a piece of infrastructure that is integral to the realization of the Northern Powerhouse vision.”