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The Guardian Weekly - 2021-11-26

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North ‘betrayed’ as high speed rail plan scaled back

Global Report

MPs, regional leaders and industry figures have accused ministers of betraying the north with a delayed and downgraded £96bn ($128bn) rail plan. Ministers insisted that money-saving changes – including axing the eastern leg of the HS2 line and omitting a promised high-speed line across northern England – would bring faster train journeys to more communities up to 10 years earlier than planned. But experts warned of delays and disruption for commuters after longstanding plans were ripped up. Boris Johnson was accused of reneging on commitments to level up. Last month, he used his party conference speech to pledge that the government would build Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). The Integrated Rail Plan, published last week, set out a scaling back of the NPR project and the axing of the planned east Midlands to Leeds high-speed line, with HS2 trains instead running on existing upgraded routes.

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