The following article about HS2 and the West Midlands features in the latest House magazine.
The Transport Secretary has made it absolutely clear that HS2 will go ahead and this is tremendous news for the West Midlands.
It is only right that HS2 is rigorously examined but it is important we hear about the tremendous opportunity high speed rail presents for the UK economy as well as listening to the concerns of those opposed to the scheme.
There are millions of people in the West Midlands and beyond set to benefit from high speed rail and we are delighted HS2 continues to enjoy strong cross party support.
Independent research concludes that HS2 will bring 22,000 much-needed jobs and an economic boost of £1.5bn per year to the West Midlands.
HS2 provides fast, direct links between our regions cutting journeys from Birmingham to London from 1h 23m to 45m; to Manchester from 1h 31m to 41m and to Leeds from 2h down to 57m.
HS2 also frees up capacity on our congested existing lines allowing for more passenger and freight services.
Road congestion costs the West Midlands £2.3bn per year, but one freight train can move the same amount as 60 HGVs. Therefore HS2 not only delivers the rail capacity we desperately need but generates real economic and carbon benefits.
Regional transport authority Centro has drawn up plans to increase passenger services to Birmingham and Birmingham Airport from stations in the Black Country and across the region.
The message from the West Midlands is clear – HS2 has to happen and we’re already working hard to maximise the benefits for residents and businesses in our region and beyond.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip believes the high speed rail stations must be ambitious and inspirational world class gateways to the region.
“You only have to visit stations such as St Pancras in London and Liège Guillemins in Belgium to understand the tremendous positive impact these wonderful stations have.
“We want the best for the West Midlands so people in the region and beyond will be able to identify with these buildings for generations to come,” he said.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce CEO, Jerry Blackett, agrees: “Our HS2 stations in Eastside (city centre) and at the Airport and NEC must be clear and confident statements of intent from a bold and ambitious region,” he said.
Work is well underway on the nearby £600m New Street Gateway development and construction has started on the £127m New Street to Snow Hill Midland Metro extension.
Design work is taking place on the walkway between the New Street and Moor Street stations (next to HS2) and discussions are taking place on further proposals for rail, tram and bus links connecting HS2 with our existing infrastructure.
We’re delighted HS2 continues to enjoy cross party support and determined to seize this wonderful opportunity for our region.