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Greengauge event to build support for HS2

The Industry Leaders Group conference next month aims to showcase the wider benefits of HS2, Greengauge 21 has announced.

The event, which will be held in Birmingham on September 19, will discuss the benefits of the project, foster a greater understanding of the wider network concept, build ongoing support for HS2 and give business leaders and rail professionals the opportunity to question and discuss Network Rail and HS2 studies and research.

Greengauge 21 will also present its own research on HS2.

Director Jim Steer said: “Our aim for the day is simple: to transform any lingering perception that HS2 is of limited, narrow benefit. It isn’t: its beneficial effects extend right across the national rail network.”

Stephen Hughes, chief executive, Birmingham City Council said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the West Midlands to deliver thousands of jobs, boost our economy and strengthen our links across the UK and Europe. Independent research reveals HS2 Phase 1 alone will deliver 22,000 jobs and £1.5bn per year to our economy when we connect London with Birmingham.

“HS2 provides rapid, direct links between eight of our ten major cities, but it also releases capacity for more local and regional services on our increasingly congested existing lines. We’ve seen passenger numbers double in a decade in the West Midlands and doing nothing or patching and mending our overloaded existing network is simply not an option. By the mid 20s the West Coast Main line will be operating at full capacity. Our challenge is to get the most out of HS2 with swift access from across our region.

“We’ve recently called for a High Speed Rail Centre of Excellence to be built in Birmingham. We want to ensure we are setting the agenda for our region and delivering the maximum benefits from high speed rail.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said: “By the 2020s our already creaking rail and road networks will be in urgent need of extra capacity and doing nothing is not an option. If you accept the compelling need for a new network it makes no sense for it to be anything other than high speed. It's essential that the enormous benefits which HS2 would deliver, and the severe consequences to the nation of doing nothing, are clearly and consistently communicated and I believe this conference will make a positive contribution.”

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