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Potential HS2 benefits ‘felt by millions across the UK’

Midlands Connect have investigated exactly what the benefits of the HS2 stand to be and who will be benefitting from them. 

The first phase of HS2 has already led to record levels of investment in the West Midlands and generated thousands of jobs, but research into specific benefits has been announced today.

Midlands Connect have revealed that 73 stations on the existing rail network will benefit from extra capacity thanks to HS2. This includes 54 stations who don’t have any direct HS2 services.

The high-speed line will move long-distance journeys away from the existing line, making way for new routes and more frequent local and inter-regional services.  It will also result in reduced crowding and new services between destinations that do not currently have a direct rail link.

With HS2 transporting 576,000 people per day, the benefits will be felt in areas across the country, these include Coventry, Shrewsbury, Leicester, Leamington Spa, Nottingham, Newark, Newcastle and Macclesfield. 

Specifically, the HS2’s capacity-releasing effects on the network mean that Coventry will benefit from new direct connections to and from Derby, Sheffield, York and Newcastle.

It will also cause more frequent services to and from Shrewsbury, Telford, Leamington Spa and along the Coventry-Birmingham commuter corridor, as well as all the extra space freed up on the existing lines to London.

Passengers travelling to and from Milton Keynes via London, Manchester and the West Midlands will benefit from reduced crowding – routes that regularly offer standing room only, despite commuter passes costing upwards of £5,000 per year.  

Benefits will also spread to stations such as Lincoln, where additional capacity can be deployed to provide more frequent connections to and from Newark, Grantham, Stevenage and London.

The benefits also spread to the rail freight industry as space will be created for 144 extra freight trains per day, which could carry over 2.5 million lorries’ worth of cargo each year. Making it a greener option, as transporting freight by rail rather than on roads produces 76% less CO2. 

Sir John Peace, chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine, said: “The benefits of HS2 will be felt by millions of people across the UK, including passengers that never set foot on a high-speed train. Regional and local rail services are in desperate need of improvement and it’s time we face facts, without the space and flexibility created by HS2, the transformational change needed is not possible.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, commented: “HS2 is not just about speed or getting to London more quickly, it is about bringing the Northern Powerhouse closer to the great cities of the Midlands. It will create more capacity for local services, the same way Northern Powerhouse Rail does for freight and local passengers across the Pennines.”

“Connecting Britain will be a major factor in rebalancing the economy – new lines both to the north west from Birmingham and up the eastern side of the UK, will expand labour markets, grow jobs, helping the North and Midlands to become as prosperous and successful as London. New direct links from a city like Coventry to Sheffield, York and Newcastle, by upgrades to the existing network, demonstrate that even those who don’t use an HS2 service will still see the benefits.” 


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