HS2 - Manchester Business Travel
Manchester's HS2 Link has been Axed
Manchester’s chance to become a global hub has been lost following the decision to axe the HS2 high-speed rail link north of Birmingham.
That’s according to Clarity’s CEO Pat McDonagh after Rishi Sunak confirmed the decision at the Conservative party conference which was, ironically, in Manchester.
The original vision was that HS2 would modernise rail services both between the north and south – Manchester to London by rail would only take 71 minutes instead of the current 135 minutes.
Speaking to Amon Cohen of Business Travel News,
“The big loss with the removal of the Manchester link of HS2 is the connectivity to Manchester Airport.
“It was going to have a station on HS2 prior to Manchester and would have extended the catchment area for the airport by 20 million passengers.
“You would have been able to attract airlines which maybe wouldn’t have considered Manchester before as an option, and routes that weren’t believed to be viable.
“We didn’t necessarily need to make it easier to travel from Manchester to London. It’s that missed opportunity for Manchester as a global hub that I think is lost.”
Clive Wrattan, CEO of the Business Travel Association
In a statement on the association’s website he said: “Scrapping such an important leg of HS2 is a deplorable act of carelessness on behalf of the Government.
“Cancelling the key northern hub makes a mockery of the levelling-up agenda and doesn’t help the capacity issues some routes are facing.
“Once again, connected business travel across the UK is sacrificed by those in power negligent of the needs of those outside London.
“Although the business travel has changed since the pandemic, with more hybrid and virtual events taking place, in-person travel is the beating heart of our industry.”
While realising the decision was made due to spiraling costs of the project Pat added: “It is lamentable that we can’t build modern high-speed rail infrastructure where others in Europe have done it so successfully.
“It suggests a lack of vision, capability and commitment from us as the nation that was the birthplace of the railways.
“Isambard Kingdom Brunel and George Stephenson would be spinning in their graves.”