We must have HS2 as soon as possible if we are to cope with escalating West Midlands demand for rail services, the chief executive of the region’s transport authority will tell a parliamentary inquiry into high speed rail.
Centro’s Geoff Inskip will report that 22.8 million passenger journeys were made in the West Midlands conurbation in 2000/01 yet this had almost doubled to 42.8 million journeys by 2010/11.
Centro has been invited to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for High Speed Rail at Westminster on April 18.
The APPG inquiry has been set up to examine the UK’s rail capacity needs.
Mr Inskip said that HS2 would bring 22,000 jobs and generate £1.5bn for the West Midlands economy while freeing up desperately needed capacity on the existing network.
Looking ahead to the inquiry, Mr Inskip said: “We’ve seen tremendous growth in rail in the West Midlands.
“But what is often overlooked is the important fact that HS2 releases capacity for more train services on our existing lines allowing us to provide better local and regional rail in our region.
“It might not grab the headlines but it’s vital because this means we can get more people to work, reduce congestion and overcrowding and take freight off our roads. This will significantly boost our economy.”
Mr Inskip will also reveal that rail accounted for 17 per cent of travel into Birmingham in 2001, but this had increased to 27 per cent in 2010.
In the latest figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) passenger numbers have risen by six per cent in the last year.
There are now as many rail passengers using the UK network as there were in the 1920s when there was twice as much track.
The inquiry has already begun and will also hear from Birmingham City Council and the Go HS2 pro high speed West Midlands alliance.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening gave the go-ahead for HS2 on January 10 after a public consultation.
Birmingham Chamber will also give evidence to the inquiry. Birmingham Chamber news release on HSR APPG.