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HS2 a potential ‘game-changer’ for economy

The publication of the draft route for the second phase of HS2 has been met with largely positive reaction from the rail industry. The project has the potential to boost freight growth, free-up capacity and regenerate some of the country’s most deprived areas, its proponents say.

The route will take HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, and is due to be built by 2032.

John Smith, GB Railfreight’s managing director: “HS2 will free substantial capacity on the existing rail network, especially North East and North West from the East and West Midlands.

“This new route would give the rail freight sector the opportunity to grow business, removing thousands of lorry journeys from the roads each year.”

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the ATOC said: “The Government’s commitment to high speed rail, along with its sustained investment in the existing network, is key to ensuring that the UK has a modern, green transport system fit for the 21st century.

“High speed rail will not only create scores of new, faster services but also free up capacity on the existing network, allowing the railways to respond to the growing demand for train travel across the country.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “HS2 has the potential to be a game-changer for the UK economy if delivered properly.

“The new high-speed links can create thousands of new jobs and boost regional growth, as well as providing a much needed boost for our construction and manufacturing industries.”

However she warned that HS2 must not price people out of travelling on it.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands can take advantage of being right at the centre of the high-speed rail network and the benefits it will bring to the existing rail and road network through released capacity.”

Birmingham City Council cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, Cllr Tahir Ali agreed it was “great news” for the region, bringing “jobs, delivering tremendous opportunities for growth and investment, and improving transport infrastructure.”

The delayed proposals on a spur to Heathrow to allow a review of UK aviation policy mean that the new rail hub at Old Oak Common in the north of Hammersmith & Fulham will become the main interchange station for passengers to transfer to the airport.

Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F council leader, commented: “This is great news for anyone who wants to see better transport links and new homes and jobs in a rundown corner of north-west London. A new generation of high speed trains will stop at the major new interchange station at Old Oak and allow passengers to change onto numerous existing routes – or whizz them to Heathrow Airport in just 11 minutes.

“Old Oak will become the epicentre of the nation’s high speed network linking the regions of the UK with Heathrow, the capital and beyond.

“HS2 also has the power to transform not just the national economy, by bridging the north/south divide, but also to deliver new prosperity and jobs in one of the poorest parts of our borough.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at

Image c. DfT 


Arthur Gilbert   01/02/2013 at 13:26

"However she warned that HS2 must not price people out of travelling on it." Precisely. It should not become a rich person's railway

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