PASSENGERS from Coventry will struggle to book a seat on trains to London unless HS2 goes ahead, the transport minister has claimed.
Patrick McLoughlin told Coventry MP Jim Cunningham the city would benefit from the scheme by freeing up the west coast mainline.
He made the comments in Monday night’s vote on HS2 in Westminster.
Asked how the city would benefit, Mr McLoughlin said: “The simple fact is that Coventry will have the potential to get much better train services than if we failed to build HS2.
“There will be a far greater chance for commuters from Coventry to Birmingham or Leeds to have seats as longer distance passengers transfer to HS2.
“Without HS2 it is likely that trains to Birmingham and London from Coventry will become increasingly congested, with there being little chance to book a seat.
“I was on a train from Birmingham to London last Tuesday in the middle of the day, and by the time it reached Coventry it was very nearly full. There is a capacity problem.”
He added city residents would also have the opportunity to use the Birmingham Interchange station.
Monday’s vote on the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill passed despite 35 Tories rebelling against the government.
It is not expected to become law until after the 2015 election.