Three words have dominated the news agenda this week; High Speed Rail. For many people, they simply switch off when it comes to MPs discussing Transport. In an age of Ministerial mansions, iPads and smartphones, discussions about railway lines and airport runways, is hardly the sexiest of topics.
Yet HS2 really matters for the people of Liverpool.
I strongly support the transformation of Britain’s national rail network as it will provide greater capacity and reduce journey times. To make this a reality, we need both, high speed lines alongside upgrades to the existing rail network (electrification) and a new generation of high speed inter-city trains.
The Labour Party has a proud tradition of investing in Britain’s railways. It was a Labour government that delivered Britain’s first new high speed rail (HS1) between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel. Before the last election, it was the Labour party that set out plans from a second High Speed line connecting London to Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.
We all know that the number of passengers using trains has grown considerably. How many times have we jumped on a train and not been able to get a seat on the train? Only a new, faster line, can deliver more train journeys and shorter journey times. I will support the government and work on a cross-party basis to ensure that HS2 comes to fruition in its entirety.
It was, however, disappointing that the government only saw fit to legislate on phase one of the high speed rail line in this parliament. My vision for High Speed Rail is a service that is affordable for the many, not just the few. I believe that it is vital that is does not become a ‘rich man’s toy’ to use.
However my reasoning is not just an altruistic approach that sees improvements in other areas, I also see potential benefits for Liverpool. Faster train journeys will see increases in the number of foreign visitors visiting the capital, jumping on a fast train to Liverpool to see our attractive cultural offer. It will also create thousands of jobs and I along with other Merseyside MPs will be fighting to ensure that people from our area get these job opportunities.
It is by having a bigger vision that, together, we will march full steam ahead and reap the rewards.