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[英伦广角] 2014-11-01 英国政府支持新建高速铁路3号线

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This is perhaps the offer they cannot afford to refuse -- high-speed rail for the ambitious northern cities like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull. The government said this is a fast track to a better life.

“I think it’s a real opportunity here as the chancellor has spoken about, to create a northern powerhouse by looking at how we can use high speed rail and other infrastructure to link up our great northern cities, so that we really have a proper balance, a rebalance in our economy. That’s what this is about.”

“Of course there are still thousands of people who are deadly against this plan. HS2 and the northern extension of it will cut right across where I’m standing in this village in northeast Leeds. And it is in the city where the chairman of the project will give his recommendations for the plan, but that’s not before the Prime Minister and the chancellor have given their backing to the next stage -- HS3.”

The first stage of HS2 starts at London’s Euston, and it’s due to open in 2026. It heads northwest, connecting Birmingham before heading up to Lichfield. Phase 2 of the network timetabled for 2032, recommends a route through Crewe and onto Manchester, and through Nottingham and onto Sheffield and Leeds. New plans have been announced for HS3, a new tunnel under the Pennines connecting Manchester to Leeds. The idea the traveling times will be slashed. For example, Manchester to Leeds now is around 55 minutes. In the future it could be as little as 26 minutes.

“We are gonna enable the north to compete. We are gonna have to be very bold on our investment for transport for the north. We just spend, we just stage spending £50bn on Crossrail in London. And I believe the north has to have its fair-sharing investment too.”

The campaign against the HS2 has long questioned the figures and the promises, and the impact on towns and villages.

“Cutting across from behind here, 40 meters in the air, a concrete…”

Joan Mason whose house lies on the route of the northern extension near Leeds says the value of her house has dropped by more than £300,000.

“We have won every argument. We have won the economic argument, the environmental argument, the capacity argument, every single argument. It will not help the north. All these things are spurious. This is a politically driven vanity project. It is the flame that’s being found by the people who start to do very well after it.”

The government knows it must keep up the pace of this controversial project or risk its stalling all together. With an election looming, winning over the north with the promise of better times could win crucial votes.

Nick Martin, Sky News, Leeds.
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