The ‘Rail’ Benefits of High Speed Trains

By on 24/02/2010 in News

With the Government expected next month to unveil its white paper on the future of High Speed Rail in the UK, transport experts from across the midlands will gather at the ICC this Thursday to discuss how a High Speed link to Birmingham will benefit the local economy.

Delegates from the City Council, local businesses, partner agencies and transport operators will also use the event to further lobby Government on the case for the Birmingham link being the most viable and beneficial leg of the network to be developed next.

Opening the event, Leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby will say that when it comes to High Speed Rail 2 “we can't afford not to.”

“The UK is one of the most centralised countries in Europe and the recession demonstrated how our economy has an over reliance on services delivered in the South East. HS2 will open up our economy, allowing our regional cities to once again punch their weight and contribute to even more to UK Plc.

“We know that phase one of HS2, London to Birmingham, will deliver a GDP benefit of £2.2bn to the wider West Midlands region and £1.2bn for Birmingham alone.”

The City Leader will also point out that the city is most logical base for the network's engineering and valeting headquarters, and the estimated £1.23 billion in benefits High Speed Rail will bring to the Birmingham economy.

Cllr Mike Whitby says: “Birmingham is already at the heart of the UK’s road and rail network – helping us to build the global city that we have today – but high speed rail would take us into a whole new era.

“It supports Birmingham’s role as a global city connected to international markets. It would support regeneration within the city centre and as a catalyst for the creation of new employment opportunities, in line with the proposals outlined in our Big City Plan.

“The proposals could also bring hundreds of new jobs in engineering, servicing and valeting directly related to the new services, with many more following as Birmingham expands as a business location.

The first stage of High Speed Rail, connecting London to the Channel Tunnel, was opened three years ago, providing an attractive as well as low carbon alternative to air and ferry services between the south-east and the major European destinations of Paris and Brussels.

A Birmingham to London extension of High Speed Rail would be capable of  carry upto 16,000 passengers an hour, while halving journey times between London and Birmingham to just 45 minutes, and bringing Paris and Brussels within three hours.

Mick Laverty, Chief Executive of regional Development Agency  Advantage West Midlands said,  ”A High Speed Rail link to London would bring huge potential economic opportunities to the West Midlands, and is a great prize to be won. It would make the West Midlands an even better place to invest and do business.”

Birmingham and the West Midlands would also benefit from the millions of car trips which high speed rail would take off overcrowded roads, in particular the congested M6 motorway.

High Speed 2 would also complement plans to further develop Birmingham's road and rail networks, with the super fast trains running directly into the city centre, enabling an interchange with the new £600 million New Street Gateway station.

A report from specialist interest group, Greengauge 21, estimated that connection to High Speed Rail would generate the economy of any city on the network income of £3 back for every £1 invested.

Ends

For further information contact Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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