MPs lead calls to re-visit HS2 plans
The business case for a controversial high-speed rail line through the West Midlands should be re-examined after the the new franchise for the West Coast Main Line was scrapped, MPs and a council leader have said.
Jeremy Lefroy, Tory MP for Stafford, and Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said the decision to scrap the award of the contract to FirstGroup raised questions about the business case for the £32 billion HS2 line.
They have called on Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, a former Cannock Chase councillor, to look again at the plans to provide 225mph trains by 2026 in light of both the West Coast Main Line problems and reports suggesting that HS2 may be re-routed to connect with Heathrow Airport.
Mr Lefroy said: "These difficulties raise questions about the business case for HS2 and I will be asking the Secretary of State to look at that again to ensure that process is robust as well." Mr Fabricant has written to Mr McLoughlin calling the planned HS2 line "wholly unacceptable to me and my constituents".
He said: "Patrick McLoughlin is a no-nonsense politician as has been demonstrated over his decision on the West Coast Mainline franchise.
"Having worked closely with him over a number of years in the Government Whips' Office, he is very aware of the issues facing Lichfield and HS2.
"With news that he might also taking a similarly practical approach regarding the possible integration of Heathrow and HS2, now was the time to write."
Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox added he had "grave concerns" over it.
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