Use HS2 cash on electrifying Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton railway line, says MP
An MP has called on the Transport Secretary to use funds that had been earmarked for HS2 to be spent on electrifying the railway link from Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton.
Mark Pritchard tabled a parliamentary question to Transport Secretary Mark Harper following last month’s cancellation of the high-speed rail link from Birmingham to Manchester.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the £36 billion saved from dropping the northern leg of HS2 would be used to fund other transport projects in the North and Midlands.
At the moment, only diesel trains are able to use the line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, which includes stations at Telford, Wellington, Shifnal, Cosford, Albrighton and Codsall.
This also means that electric trains are unable to run between Shropshire and Birmingham or London, hampering the flexibility of services that would benefit passengers.
To tackle this problem, Avanti West Coast has ordered a fleet of ‘bi-mode’ trains, due to go into service shortly, which can switch between diesel and electric power.
Transport minister Huw Merriman said he was aware that transport body Midlands Connect had drawn up an outline business case for the electrification of the line.
“We are committed to a rail infrastructure portfolio which delivers benefits for rail users and value for money for the taxpayer,” he said.
“Individual schemes are assessed on their alignment with Government priorities and the strength of their business cases.”
Last week, Mr Harper announced £2.2 billion in HS2 funds was being diverted to fill the region’s potholes.