November 4, 2013 1.42 pm This story is over 96 months old

High speed rail boost of up to £115m for Lincoln, report says

Better links? The potential high speed rail network the government plan to develop could benefit Lincoln’s economy in the millions, but some are sceptic.

Lincoln and other parts of the county will benefit from the introduction of a high speed rail network by up to £115 million, according to a report.

The report, by KPMG on behalf of High Speed Two Limited (HS2), looks at how a new rail network in the East Midlands would economically impact the area.

HS2, a £42 billion project to be completed by 2026, is a new railway between London, Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds, designed to operate at speeds of up to 225mph.

As well as faster inter-city journey times, it will provide an increase in rail capacity and major reorganisation of local and longer-distance railway services on existing networks like the East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line.

Photo: HS2

Photo: HS2

The network will be built up in two phases, first working on the line between London and Birmingham followed by lines between Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield Meadowhall and an East Midlands Hub at Toton, near Nottingham.

According to the report, Lincoln would be impacted by the new line because of relief from the East Coast Main Line, meaning additional direct services between the city and London.

Instead of the single return service each day, Lincoln could get an additional 15 services to London — almost an hourly service.

These routes would run similar as the current service, either via Newark or Sleaford.

This would improve the city and county’s economy by between £62-£115 million. In the East Midlands, the HS2 network would bring in an extra £2.2bn a year.

The revamped Euston Station in London, the destination of the trains from Birmingham. Photo: HS2

The revamped Euston Station in London, the destination of the trains from Birmingham. Photo: HS2

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said: “In respect of HS2 the supporters of this project are yet to convincingly explain to the people of Lincoln and Lincolnshire how their city and county will directly benefit from additional services once the high-speed rail network, which will initially link London to Birmingham, is up and running.

“There may well be some direct benefits later on as the line is connected through to Leeds (and Manchester) and whilst not that close geographically to Lincoln, I welcome the advent of a major infrastructure project linking areas of our country that are not in the South East or London centric.

“In the meantime, whilst welcoming such benefits for the north of our country, I will continue to argue that our priority in Lincoln must be to electrify the Lincoln-Newark-Nottingham line and ensure that the slowest and least frequent services of any city in the UK are improved.”

Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, said: “The proposed HS2 training, if it goes ahead, could see improved East to West connectivity from Lincoln.

“This could make it easier for people to commute to and from, visit, conduct business from and study in the city.”

HS2 sceptic

However, some feel that the money being invested into the HS2 project could be better invested and distributed across the country in existing infrastructure.

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “I admire the government’s ambition to take on large infrastructure projects, but I’m not convinced HS2 is a good use of £42 billion.

“A few large cities will receive their golden egg while the rest of the country languishes behind with Victorian rail lines and an under-funded road network.”

“There are plenty of viable alternatives that would boost the nation’s economy. I am keen that we properly explore these options before signing a blank cheque on this vanity project.”

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