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05.03.14

UK faces ‘long-term challenges’ if HS2 derailed

Failing to build HS2 would leavethe UK unable to meet its full potential, lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of infrastructure development, according to new research from pro-high speed rail business leaders.

The report–Great Britain: connected or not?– produced by the HSR Industry Leaders Group (HSRILG), stated that if HS2 was to be derailed, only a small fraction of the funding allocated to it would go to other transport and infrastructure projects. 

For example, the report suggests that if the £42bn funding allocated to HS2 was to be redeployed, only a small amount, around £2bn, would be made available to the Department for Transport.

Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21 and founding member of HSRILG, a coalition of industry experts aimed at delivering a high speed rail network in Britain, said: “HS2 is a project that will build a bright future for Great Britain.

“With the Bill for the first stage of the route now before Parliament, we felt it important to set out the hugely positive difference this project will make.”

Additionally, the research highlights that losing HS2 would lead to a loss of investment in the national workforce – HS2 is predicted to create 20,000 new jobs in construction alone.

Other findings of the report suggest that the opportunity to regenerate the Midlands and North of England would be missed, it would also not be possible to accommodate any significant growth in rail freight capacity, and it would signal to potential investors Britain’s unwillingness to invest in its infrastructure.

Steve Scrimshaw, ‎managing director of Rail Systems UK at Siemens, added:“HS2 is about so much more than reducing journey times between London and Birmingham. It is about a once in a generation, transformational opportunity to reconnect Britain and revitalise our busy rail network. The advantages of this cannot be overstated and this report points to some of those.”

Jim Steer writes for RTM in our upcoming April/May 2014 edition. Subscribe at www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Subscribe

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