HS2 announcements heralded a “game-changer”

September 14, 2017 10:03 am

UK HS2 Logo

The July announcement of the final HS2 high speed rail recommended route through Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire has been welcomed by the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board.

Councillor Jon Collins is Nottingham City Council Leader and Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board.  Commenting on the announcement, he said: “The announcements are great news for the East Midlands.  HS2 will mean more and better jobs for local people.  Moreover, there will be fewer overcrowded trains and much quicker journey times to key destinations.

“The Hub Station at Toton will be the most connected high speed station outside London.  With the potential to be an inspiring 21st century gateway to the East Midlands.  And a destination in its own right.  We now need to ensure that Government gets on with building the eastern leg to Leeds as soon as possible.  And that HS2 does not stop at Birmingham.”

David Ralph is Chief Executive of the D2N2 LEP.  He added: “As the LEP for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, we support HS2 as a potential game-changer for the East Midlands economy.  Greater connectivity and shorter journey times, and the associated development along the line, will mean both economic and jobs growth locally.  The announcements are great news.  Now we need to get on with making the vision a reality.”

Following the announcement, the Government will start work on the ‘Phase 2b Hybrid Bill’.  This will enable the route to Leeds to be built, due to be introduced to Parliament in late 2019.  The HS2 Phase 2b line through the D2N2 LEP area, on the current schedule, is planned to be completed and fully operational by 2033.  However, local partners are keen for the East Midlands Hub Station to be open by 2030.

Comment from the Chamber

Publishing of this HS2 route has also led the East Midlands Chamber to call for action to maximise the potential benefit of the service.

Scott Knowles is Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber.  Scott said: “The Eastern Leg of HS2 will be transformational for the region. It has the potential to unlock economic benefits of more than £4bn for the East Midlands and parts of Yorkshire.  It’s not just about faster train times.  It’s also about capacity and connecting the East Midlands to a first-class UK- and Europe-wide rail network.  In turn, that will make the region a more attractive place for inward investment and bring new opportunities for local firms.

“There must be investment now across the region to ensure seamless interconnectivity along the route.  Our cities and major towns must have quick, practical and direct connection with HS2 if they are to maximise its potential and avoid being marginalised by poor connectivity.”

Various reports state that in 20 years’ time there will be “major capacity issues” on Britain’s railways unless something is done to upgrade the network.  Furthermore, there are predictions that passenger numbers could double by 2040.

Scott added: “The East Midlands cannot be left with insufficient rail capacity or poor connectivity.  As part of this major infrastructure project, the biggest in a generation, full electrification of the Midland Main Line should now be a priority.  This will ensure to ensure seamless integration with HS2, particularly where the route goes through Chesterfield and Sheffield.”

Future of East Midlands current rail franchise

Government is currently running a consultation on the future of the rail franchise in the East Midlands.  Views are sought in order to ensure the new franchise delivers the best railway for passengers, communities and businesses alike.  This consultation will be open until 11 October at 11:45pm.

This consultation will:

  • explain the planned process and timescales for awarding the rail franchise
  • provide information about the current franchise services and aims for the new franchise
  • seek your views on all aspects of the rail service to ensure the new franchise delivers the best possible railway for passengers, communities and businesses.

To support the online consultation, various public consultation events are also being held.  The closest remaining location is Sheffield on 27 September.  Find out more.

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