June 28, 2017

Three rail projects in British infrastructure priority list

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BRITAIN’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has identified its “top 12 major infrastructure priorities which require urgent action,” which includes three rail projects, all of which are in the top four after a third runway at London Heathrow airport.

NIC says that “without timely ministerial decisions over the next year, progress will stall and in some cases projects or investments may collapse entirely.”

NIC believes the second highest priority for the government is the HS2 high-speed project linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. NIC says the government should introduce the hybrid Bill for phase 2a (Birmingham to Crewe), and publish the finalised route for phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds), including connections with HS3, and let the major work contracts for phase 1 (London - Birmingham) by the end of July.

HS3, which is the third highest priority, envisages improving the rail link between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. NIC says that the government should publish a single integrated plan for the first phase of HS3 by the end of 2017. This includes electrifying and upgrading the Manchester - Leeds main line, the northern sections of HS2, and redeveloping Manchester Piccadilly station.

Crossrail 2, which will link northeast, central and southwest London, is number four on NIC’s list. NIC says that by the end of 2017, a plan needs to be published for the funding and phased construction of Crossrail 2.

NIC also points out that Britain’s infrastructure is not only a job for central government, but for regional leaders too, and an urgent priority for new mayors and leaders of major local authorities is to identify strategic infrastructure priorities for their regions.

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