Regional leaders call for HS2 to be completed all the way

HS2 must be completed all the way to the North and integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail to achieve the maximum impact on rebalancing the UK’s economy, High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL) said at the annual conference in Manchester this week.

Delegates assembled at the University of Manchester from across industry, local and national government, devolved transport organisations and academia. The conference focused on the importance of HS2’s second phases, in particular how it would integrate with regional transportation programmes like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub.

The conference heard how HS2 will have a transformative impact on economic prospects in regional economies across the North and the Midlands, improving infrastructure beyond the line of route, and creating new opportunities and lasting jobs and skills. Representatives from the Midlands and North came together to emphasise their support for HS2 and regional transport schemes, including Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse director at Transport for the North (TfN), and Maria Machancoses, director at Midlands Connect.

In a keynote session, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham reiterated the importance of HS2 to the North, warning Conservative Party leadership candidates that bringing the future of HS2 into question would be politically dangerous. Burnham urged the next Prime Minister to not give in to a false choice of having to pick between HS2 and NPR. Meanwhile, the Chair of HS2 Ltd Allan Cook said that the benefits of HS2 will be felt for generations to come, and affirmed that HS2 is being built to last well into the 22nd century.

The HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani MP confirmed that the government is working closely with TfN on proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail, and that HS2 infrastructure will be critical for the success of the scheme. The minister said that it is “completely false” to say that the North cannot have both projects.

Isabel Coman, HSRIL director, opening the event, said: “We need to keep momentum going for HS2, now more than ever. The project has its naysayers, however, their comments quite often suggest a misunderstanding of the project and the vast opportunity it presents. We need to continue to fight for this project until the very first train rolls off and keep on educating and spreading the message on just how transformational it will be for Britain, particularly in the North and Midlands where their economies’ future growth is dependent on HS2’s completion.”

Allan Cook

Allan Cook CBE, chair of HS2 Ltd, said: “HS2 is a transformational programme. The investments we have made – and will continue to make in the next two decades – will transform our transport infrastructure for generations. It is an integral part of the UK Industrial Strategy which will help to improve connectivity throughout the UK – utilising the talent and expertise in the Midlands and the North, and building a stronger, more competitive economy. The new railway will have a positive environmental impact by taking intercity trains off the existing lines, creating more space for extra commuter trains and reducing freight traffic on our motorways.

“Collaborating closely with Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transport for the North, Network Rail and Midlands Rail Hub, we will create a transport network which will open up the whole country. Travel on our network will be more environmentally friendly, more efficient, more comfortable and more reliable. Businesses will have access to more talent and more open markets, and families and friends will be able to live and work where they choose.”

HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani MP said: “HS2 will increase capacity across our network while improving rail connections between 25 towns and cities. Not only this, but it’s going to help deliver up to 30,000 jobs, revitalise areas and provide economic benefits that will help rebalance the economy.

Andy Burnham and Sarah Jane Mee

“Alongside this, NPR will significantly improve connectivity and passenger experience across the North. We are also clear that the north needs both of these projects; it is not either/or – the full benefits of NPR rely on HS2.”

Mayor Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The North of England needs to be at the front of the queue for infrastructure spending for the next 25 years. After generations of chronic underinvestment, some still expect us to have to choose between HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. Why can’t we have both?

“A Conservative leadership candidate seriously planning to question HS2 should consider what that will mean for the North, for rebalancing our national economy, and for boosting jobs and growth in areas that need it most.”

Maria Machancoses, director at Midlands Connect, will be appearing at this year's TCR Midlands as a keynote speaker. TCR Midlands is being held on 18 July, bringing together a selection of high-profile speakers and decision makers in rail in the Midlands all in one place. Don't miss your chance to attend, visit the website here to enquire.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

New railway station between Hinckley and Nuneaton receives backing

12/09/2019New railway station between Hinckley and Nuneaton receives backing

Plans for a new railway station between Hinckley and Nuneaton looks set to go ahead following backing from councillors. Nuneaton Parkway Sta... more >
New fleet on the horizon for Hull Trains

09/09/2019New fleet on the horizon for Hull Trains

Louise Cheeseman, managing director of Hull Trains, describes how a new fleet of rolling stock looks set to revolutionise the operator and their ... more >
Investing in the country’s future workforce

05/09/2019Investing in the country’s future workforce

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, talks about addressing the skills gap and investing in new talent acr... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

29/08/2019Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

Anna- Jane Hunter, is a ‘proud northerner’ and is passionate about continuing the investment and the success story of rail across the North.  She plays a key role in working with government and northern leaders to enable the network to carry on thriving. We caught up with Anna-Jane, for her expertise and insight into conn... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind?...
  • 10/09/2019Cleaning up the railways

    Jim Knox, director of Gard Chemicals, explains how the company is helping the rail industry ensure they have the best cleaning and maintenance...
View all News


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >