Huge economic boost for the Midlands as Transport Secretary confirms HS2 routes

  • Transport Secretary confirms route from Birmingham to North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire
  • Decision set to bring massive economic boost to the relevant city regions
  • Thousands of extra seats and additional services to be freed-up on local routes by new high speed train line

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today (17 July 2017) confirmed Britain’s high speed rail lines from Birmingham to the North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire.

The decision will mean new connections between Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and the East Midlands – with all of them being linked to London by the line.

It is set to bring a massive economic boost for the North and the Midlands by increasing productivity and creating new business opportunities.

And the new line will free up thousands of extra seats and additional services on local lines. New research shows the impact of HS2 could more than double rush hour seats from Manchester Piccadilly towards Stoke and Crewe; and from Leeds towards Wakefield. It could also almost double peak seats from London to Peterborough and east coast destinations further north.

Today’s announcement will mean journeys from Birmingham to Manchester in 40 minutes – a trip that takes more than 80 minutes on services currently.

By providing new routes for intercity services, HS2 will free-up space on our existing railways for new commuter, regional and freight services, taking lorries off our roads.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“Britain’s new railway line will bring huge economic benefits across the country and help ensure this government delivers on its promise to spread wealth beyond London and the South East.

“But as well as creating skilled jobs, apprenticeships and business opportunities, it will also mean real day-to-day improvements for people across the country.

“By building a whole new railway line for high-speed intercity connections, we will free up local services, meaning more comfort, more seats and more trains for passengers across the north and the Midlands.

“We will now press ahead with building the line, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”

David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd, said:

“Today we have taken a huge step forward in connecting eight of our largest cities, freeing up space on our railways and building a catalyst for growth across the country. Once completed, 30 million people will be served by HS2 across over 25 stations, helping to change the economic geography of the country, and bring prosperity to the Midlands, the North, and beyond.”

The Transport Secretary also announced the decision to award the first stage of £6.6 billion worth of new contracts today – supporting 16,000 jobs across the country.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Today’s announcements from the Transport Secretary are, first and foremost, important reinforcements of the Government’s commitment to the transformational HS2 project.

“With the West Midlands at the heart of the HS2 network, its effects and the huge opportunities it brings are already becoming apparent across the region. Not only are property developers already making their moves, but we’re working closely with our businesses to ensure they are ready to benefit from the contracts awarded today to the winning consortia. The confirmation that the West Midlands will be brought closer to key cities in the north thanks to today’s news about Phase 2 of the project will further strengthen the region’s connectivity offer, creating a huge economic boost.

“It is vital as a region that we work hard to ensure the investment has the maximum benefit locally, not just for businesses but for our people through projects like the National College for High Speed Rail.

Steve Hollis, Chairman of GBSLEP, added:

“Today’s announcements are important steps forward for HS2 and for Greater Birmingham & Solihull. The additional capacity and improved connections with London delivered by Phase 1 are important for our economy, but Phase 2 and the full “Y-network” that connects us with the major cities in the north is the real game-changer. 

“Following on from February’s High Speed Rail Act (London – West Midlands) 2017, it’s great to keep the momentum behind this hugely important investment and provide as much certainty for businesses and communities as possible.

“Here in the West Midlands, we are working with our neighbouring LEPs and the Combined Authority to deliver our £4.4bn Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy, which sets out how we will ensure that HS2 will benefit our businesses, our people and our places. In particular, we look forward to supporting as many of our businesses as possible to work with the major suppliers who have been successful in bidding for the £6.6bn of contracts announced earlier today.”

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