The Transport Secretary has admitted he is expecting a powerful backlash from parts of Yorkshire as the Government prepares to unveil the route of its £32bn rail line to the North next week.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post ahead of Monday’s historic announcement, Patrick McLoughlin said he accepts there will be protests in some parts of the region affected by the controversial new high-speed line.
Ministers are expected to confirm next week that they want the new high-speed station for Sheffield to be based outside the city centre, at Meadowhall, and that in Leeds a second station should be built to the south of the river which links to the current site by a walkway.
A new ‘javelin’ rail service which seamlessly links York to the new high-speed line is also to be unveiled, which will cut journey times to the capital from that city as well.
Most contentiously, however, Ministers will also announce their preferred route for the line itself between Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds, meaning the villages and landowners in Yorkshire set to be adversely affected by the new railway will be revealed.
Mr McLoughlin said he expects there to be protests – but that it will be worth the pain for the benefits HS2 will bring
“Of course that’s going to happen,” he said. “You’ve got to accept that.
“But you’ve got ask yourself, is this in the best long-term interests of the United Kingdom? And actually it is. This is the first substantial railway built north of London for 120 years.”
HS2 was given the green light 12 months ago by the coalition Government and is widely seen as the country’s biggest infrastructure project in decades.
The route for the first phase of
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