Hertfordshire welcomes green light for High Speed 2

Published: 13 Feb 2020

Hertfordshire County Council welcomes this week’s government announcement giving the go-ahead for High Speed 2, the new railway line which will initially run between London and Birmingham / Crewe. This is good news for Hertfordshire travellers on the crowded West Coast route using stations such as Watford Junction and Tring.

Although trains on the new high speed line will not stop in Hertfordshire, there should be long-term benefits for Hertfordshire rail users on the existing main line through places such as Watford and Hemel Hempstead. By moving non-stop trains onto the new high speed line, there is an opportunity for new train services in the county on the existing route. This will be good news for commuters, and the county council is also seeking better connections between Watford Junction and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Derrick Ashley, Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure, Planning and the Economy, said: “The go ahead for High Speed 2 is an important vote of confidence for the value of rail transport to the nation’s economy. Now that the scheme has been given the green light, I urge the Government to move swiftly in determining how the freed-up capacity can be best used to support economic growth in Hertfordshire.

“The needs of Hertfordshire rail users also need to be considered in the ten years before High Speed 2 opens to passengers. We are currently calling for the London to Liverpool intercity service to stop at Watford Junction in order to open up new travel opportunities, particularly for business users. I am also pressing Network Rail to deliver a passing loop on the Abbey Line which would greatly improve the train service between St Albans and Watford”.

Approval for High Speed 2 coincides with public consultation on the county council’s own Rail Strategy. This sets out a vision for improving rail services, including boosting Watford Junction’s role as a major rail hub.