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More of Staffordshire To Access High Speed Rail

More people in Staffordshire look set to be able to board a high speed train service after the Government today confirmed plans to see Stoke-on-Trent potentially join Stafford as a stop for HS2 compatible trains.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has backed plans for the Crewe Hub vision, including a redesign of platforms to allow the splitting and joining of HS2 services, opening up opportunities for people in North Staffordshire to board trains at either Crewe or Stoke.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said:

“From the outset as a county council we have been committed to ensuring Staffordshire’s voice is heard and that we get the best deal for the counties and our communities in terms of mitigation, compensation, share of economic benefits and connectivity.

“In Phase One  we were successful in securing the Handsacre Link to allow residents to access HS2 compatible trains via Stafford from 2026 and now the Government has confirmed proposals for Stoke-on-Trent to be a stop for HS2 compatible trains.

“While we need to look at the proposals in more details,  this does appear to mean that more people and businesses in Staffordshire will be able to benefit from quicker journeys to London and Birmingham Airport for example and to the North in the future via HS2 compatible trains.”

Today’s report follows a consultation on the Crewe hub.  The Department for Transport  said that combined with a HS2 junction north of Crewe (which will be considered as part of Phase 2b), the proposals could allow five  to seven HS2 trains per hour to call at Crewe and improve connectivity on the lines from Crewe to Shrewsbury, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent (subject in some cases to further investment beyond Crewe itself).

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Connect said:

“We look forward to working with local authority partners and the West Coast Partnership to develop plans for a high-speed service serving  Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent, which could be transformational for the area.

“This commitment will help unlock the Constellation Partnership’s vision for an additional 100,000 homes and 120,000 jobs by 2040.

“We will continue to work on options for enhanced regional road and rail improvements, like the A50/A500, and support the international showcasing of the Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent masterplans which will enhance opportunities for businesses and residents in the area.”

This month the county council also submitted its petition to Parliament detailing areas where modifications to Phase 2a which runs from the West Midlands to Crewe will help mitigate the impact of the scheme.  Once complete the High Speed train will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire.