Rail News

‘HS2: Realising the Potential’ Report Describes Positive Economic Impact

HS2 Ltd
© Department for Transport, UK

Sir David Higgins, the outgoing chairman of HS2 Ltd, has published a report which documents the benefits that the construction of the high-speed rail network is already providing for the UK.

‘HS2: Realising the potential’ estimates that the project is already supporting around 6,000 jobs and 2,000 businesses across the country. The work includes the ground investigation programme, which was the largest ever conducted in the UK, and an initiative to plant at least 7 million trees and shrubs around the line.

The ‘HS2: Realising the Potential’ report is expected to argue:

• “Britain invented the modern railway and it is right that, because of HS2, we have the opportunity once again to lead the world in this important sector.”

• “As we move towards construction, we are already seeing thousands of people around the country working to bring Britain’s new railway to reality. We’re in the middle of the largest programme of early works that the UK has ever seen, leading to major construction next year; supporting jobs and businesses around the UK and building the skills base we need to export around the world.”

• “On top of this, people only need to look to Birmingham and its booming economy to see the benefits that HS2 will bring right around the country happening already in the Midlands. Further proof that HS2 is more than just a railway.”

Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“HS2 will not only be the backbone of our national network, but a truly ambitious project that will drive huge economic growth right across the country. It will create significant benefits for all, delivering improved connections between our major cities, introducing more seats and services for passengers, and creating thousands of new jobs and opportunities for people and businesses across the UK.”

The report illustrates the instrumental role which Sir David has had in the delivery HS2. The project is already succeeding in its anticipated potential to create jobs and commercial opportunities before the first services are due to start in 2026.

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Birmingham HS2
© Bs0u10e0 (licence)

Even after the completion of construction operations and maintenance contracts will continue to provide economic benefits to suppliers in the industry. Cities and regions outside of the south east are already enjoying the opportunities created by the rebalancing of the economy.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Core Cities UK Vice Chair and Leader of Newcastle City Council, said:

“There is no reason why HS2 should be the end of the story, we believe it can be a first step towards high-speed rail for the whole of the UK. Ensuring that passengers can move around the country easily can help companies build a critical mass of skills, talent and expertise which is necessary to increase regional productivity. But passengers also need to have confidence in rail travel, knowing that their journey will be stress free and comfortable.”

Sir David also said:

“HS2 services will be unrecognisable to today’s commuters. A service that is dependable, if you’re travelling for work, attending a meeting, or seeing family and friends, the standard set by HS2 will be world class, with the stress of tickets, delays and other frustrations designed out of the system. HS2 will be judged, in the end, if it can be considered a railway for everyone.”

The services on HS2 will equal other high-speed networks across the globe. Trains, stations and ticketing are being designed to revolutionise the experience of passengers, with maximum delays of only 30 seconds.

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