COUNCIL leaders have shown their support for a new high speed rail link which they believe will ease congestion and aid regeneration in Wealdstone.

The council has given their support for the proposed HS2 link in a response to a Department of Transport consultation.

HS2 would provide high speed links between London, Birmingham and Manchester via a Y-shaped train network, including Leeds.

This would potentially allow 12 additional services on the West Coast Mainline from London every hour, on longer trains carrying up to 1,100 passengers.

While the HS2 line would not pass through Harrow, the council has highlighted the benefits it would bring to the Wealdstone area, currently the subject of a regeneration plan.

It claims the additional line would shift passengers away and create capacity on the increasingly overcrowded West Coast Mainline, freeing up routes for regional services.

This could allow for additional services to Euston and Clapham Junction through Harrow and Wealdstone Station.

Its response to the DfT also cites the wider benefits to the national economy through job creation, and the long term environmental benefits of HS2 in attracting more passengers and freight to travel by rail rather than road and air.

Councillor Phillip O’Dell, the council's portfolio holder for environment and community safety, said: “High speed rail offers a once in a generation opportunity for Harrow and a much needed release valve to overcrowding on the West Coast Mainline.

“Even though HS2 would not pass through Harrow, it could have a hugely beneficial effect on Harrow and Wealdstone station, freeing up capacity for additional trains.

“This would increase the appeal of the Wealdstone area to commuters and be a significant boost to efforts to regenerate the surrounding area.

“On a national scale, we firmly believe that HS2 will promote economic growth and reduce road and air travel, bringing long-term environmental benefits too.

“Harrow will enjoy those benefits too and that is why we are showing our support for high speed rail to the DfT.”