The news came in a £400 million northern investment announcement last week for road and rail that paves the way for a new connection from the main north – south HS2 high-speed line on to future Northern Powerhouse Rail lines between Liverpool and Manchester.
This would deliver enhanced high-speed rail services north, south, west and east for Liverpool with benefits for passenger and freight capacity and greatly improved passenger journey times.
These rail services have the potential to provide a £15 billion boost to economic growth, 20,00 new jobs, 10,000 new homes. The improvements would also bring in an extra 2.9 million extra visitors, boosting the City Region’s already strong visitor economy. Connections to the HS2 line would also make doing businesses more environmentally friendly and is expected to save 150 million HGV freight miles a year.
£100 million of funds have been announced which will permit the building of two small sections of rail coming off the main HS2 line, connecting to the future Northern Powerhouse Rail lines running between Liverpool and Manchester and onwards across the North.
Leaders from the Linking Liverpool high-speed rail campaign group hailed the news as an important step forward for Liverpool City Region, but continued to caution that much work is still to be done to ensure the region receives the full investment required to deliver the new lines in full and a new station facility in Liverpool City Centre.
Linking Liverpool is the campaign to bring full high-speed rail to Liverpool. It represented key organisations and bodies such as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the Liverpool City Region Local Enrerprise Partnership ( LEP) and the Chambers of Commerce network
Frank Rogers, Chief Executive of Merseytravel and Interim Head of Paid Service for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “Delivering full high speed rail for Liverpool City Region will provide a massive £15 billion boost to our economy, thousands of jobs, new housing and increased numbers of visitors.
“Securing this vital connection to HS2 for our City Region has been a key part of our Linking Liverpool campaign so this is an important step forward for the Liverpool City Region.
“However, whilst we welcome this development we will be continuing to keep up the pressure to ensure that this commitment sticks and we get the high-speed rail connections our City Region deserves.”