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Higgins: HS2 to have ‘transformational’ effect on Darlington and the Tees Valley

A new report published by the chairman of HS2 has sought to show how high-speed rail will have a ‘transformational’ effect on Darlington and the Tees Valley area.

Changing Britain: HS2 taking root, produced in collaboration with Darlington Borough Council and eight other local and regional authorities across the Midlands and the North, has outlined how Darlington and the Tees Valley will look to capitalise on the arrival of high-speed rail services.

The largest proposal outlined is for a Darlington Station Growth Hub, which will expand Darlington railway station with the help of £100m of public and private investment.

Under the plan the station would receive new platforms and buildings, allowing it to serve more long distance and local rail services while also creating new business space and up to 1,500 new homes. Darlington Borough Council’s research estimates that this would provide a £130m long-term economic boost to the Tees Valley City Region.

Cllr Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council and chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Transport Committee praised the report.

“Our Growth Hub plans are driven by the needs of the community, but made achievable by HS2,” he said. “The HS2 Growth Hub is all about realising the economic potential of Darlington and the Tees Valley region – a plan for jobs, homes and better transport links.”

The other eight regional and local authorities are also looking to HS2 to deliver key aspects of their plans for their local economies, particularly the integration of HS2 services across the existing transport network which will increase connectivity with other areas.

HS2 trains, which are planned to join the East Coast Main Line to the south of York and continue up to York, Darlington and Newcastle, are expected to slash the journey time between Darlington and Birmingham to one hour and 29 minutes – an hour faster than the current journey time – and make travel to London from Darlington achievable in under two hours for the first time.

“Two years ago, local leaders asked me to make sure that HS2 was fully integrated into the existing transport and local economies. It’s an aspiration we’ve sought to realise, but even I underestimated how far that that principle would take us, said David Higgins, HS2 chairman.

“Much of the early focus on HS2 has been on journey times to London. However, as the Changing Britain: HS2 taking root report and Darlington’s work proves, it is the inter-regional benefits and early planning from councils and local authorities to harness these which will transform areas such as Darlington and the wider Tees Valley region in the longer term.”

The Tees Valley is not the only area that looks to benefit from the arrival of HS2, with Birmingham intending to capitalise from its location on the Phase 1 part of the HS2 route. Last month saw the announcement that almost £1bn of investment would be used to redevelop Birmingham city centre, creating additional homes, jobs and commercial floor space around the planned HS2 Curzon Street station.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority has been supporting Transport for the North and Rail North in developing the long-term strategic plan for rail services in the North of England, in which HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (HS3) are intended to play a large role.


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James Palma   03/11/2016 at 19:15

Yeah, dont see it to be honest. The line through there is certainly 125mph, and may be 140(?). I honestly dont see much improvement there as the main line by-passes the station on a straight alignment. The station is on a loop. In addition the line to middlesbrough is a flat junction on to the ecml. I imagine HS2 will probably serve middlesbrough more. Though God knows why!

Chris M   04/11/2016 at 00:33

James, HS2 trains will be about 30 minutes quicker than today and average about 125mph to London from the existing Darlington station. They will run on existing tracks to Church Fenton before joining the HS2 main line. The projected 1hr 52 timing does not require anything faster than 125 mph to York.

Darryl   06/11/2016 at 21:18

It would be easy, all you would need to do is build new platforms on the east of darlington for the boro trains and for up services. Down services could use the existing up platform.

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