HS2 Rail Link "Will Be Run By State Before Passing To Private Sector"

LONDON (Alliance News) - The HS2 high speed rail link will be run by the state to prove it works ...

Alliance News 23 March, 2016 | 3:37PM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - The HS2 high speed rail link will be run by the state to prove it works before being passed to the private sector, a UK Transport Minister signalled on Wednesday.

Robert Goodwill said it was "quite likely" the GBP56 billion project will be publicly run initially to "prove certainty" on operation and passenger numbers.

But he said the long-term future of the link between London, the Midlands and the North was as a privately-run franchise.

He rejected a Labour amendment to High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill which would give the government the option of retaining state

control over HS2, stressing ministers already have those powers.

At the Bill's report stage, Goodwill said: "It is clear to the government that the franchising process deliver better services, better value for money and a better railway."

"Since privatisation the rail industry has been transformed with passenger journeys more than doubling over the last 20 years."

"We believe this remains the right approach overall for Britain's railway."

"In any case, this amendment is unnecessary as under the existing legislative framework it is possible for the state to operate rail services, as happened temporarily on the East Coast Main Line."

"It is possible, indeed quite likely in my view that the state might run HS2 initially to prove certainty on operation and passenger numbers."

"But the long-term successful future of HS2 as a privately-operated franchise is in my view the best way forward."

By Arj Singh and Emma Clark, Press Association Political Staff

source: Press Association

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