Press ahead with HS2 says high-speed rail founder as MPs tell Boris Johnson to act now over Northern rail

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THE founding father of HS2 says today that high-speed rail is the only way to improve services across the North’s network as a cross-party alliance of Yorkshire backbenchers press Boris Johnson for immediate improvements to commuter routes.

Why HS2 is now even more vital to our econonic future despite the cost – Andrew Adonis

Three West Yorkshire MPs pressed Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions over Northern rail services.

Three West Yorkshire MPs pressed Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions over Northern rail services.

Andrew Adonis, who instigated the project when Transport Secretary in Gordon Brown’s government, says building a new North-South line is the best way to increase capacity as Ministers consider whether the £100bn-plus cost is economically justifiable or not.

Northern rail pressure grows as Yorkshire MPs order Boris Johnson to take action – The Yorkshire Post says

“It could not be more vital to our economic future,” the Labour peer writes in The Yorkshire Post. “Rail demand has doubled in the past 15 years alone.

“HS2 does not just meet this demand for intercity travel; by freeing up substantial capacity on the existing lines it will make it possible to run far more freight trains and commuter and regional passenger services.

Labour peer Andrew Adonis is the founding father of HS2.

Labour peer Andrew Adonis is the founding father of HS2.

‘Sack’ Northern and TransPennine Express rail operators now, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is urged

“The big question is, if not HS2, what? The only alternative to HS2 for dealing with the capacity crunch is massive further upgrades of the existing Victorian railway.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the Oakervee review into HS2 will be published next month amid speculation that the links from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester could be delayed.

Meanwhile three West Yorkshire MPs pressed Mr Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions to committing to improving commuter services as the DfT considers the future of the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises following months of delays and cancellations.

The Government is due to decide the fate of the Northern rail franchise next week.

The Government is due to decide the fate of the Northern rail franchise next week.

Conservative MPs Mark Eastwood (Dewsbury) and Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) were joined by Labour’s Holly Lynch, who represents Halifax, as pressure grew on Mr Johnson.

Asked if the Government would back both HS2, and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Mr Johnson said: “We are already investing a record £48bnin rail services, excluding HS2. It is right that we should look at the value that this country could get from a scheme as costly as HS2, with estimates now rising to £100bn.”