Earlier this week the Prime Minster said he wanted to make decisions for the long-term benefit of the country. Cancelling HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester is, in Rail Forum’s opinion, born out of short-term expediency and at odds with his previous statement.
Rail Forum believes this decision is a major blow to the rail infrastructure supply chain, creating more uncertainty at a time when companies desperately need greater transparency and assurity of future investment pipelines and causing incalculable reputational damage to the UK.
Despite the promises made yesterday about alternative investments in rail infrastructure, Rail Forum does not see how they will deliver the economic and connectivity benefits and the additional passenger and freight capacity that HS2 Phase 2 was intended to provide.
Rail Forum does welcome confirmation that construction of Euston’s HS2’s terminus will proceed, but would welcome greater clarity on how the project’s proposed “development company” will work in practice.
The industry now requires definitive and transparent project timelines. Yesterday’s announcement impacts on future rolling stock requirements for the wider rail network but, in our opinion, fails to give the UK-based rail supply chain any forward-looking view on what these may be.
The rail supply industry needs Government procurement policies that drive long-term value for taxpayers and encourage innovation while avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy. Rail Forum and our members are keen to work in partnership with Government to deliver the above, building mutual trust and understanding as part of the wider rail reform agenda and in preparation for the creation of Great British Railways.