The HS2 Growth Taskforce is meeting key figures from Liverpool City Region and the north west today (8 January 2014) as part of a series of visits designed to ensure regions maximise the economic benefits of high speed rail.
HS2 is set to play a key role in job creation, regeneration and development in the north west. Services from Liverpool will be able to join the high speed line at Crewe and travel on it direct to London (PDF, 365KB). These classic compatible trains will allow passengers to travel seamlessly to and from the city without changing trains. This will see a reduction in journey times to London from 2h 8m to 1h 50m from 2026 and a further reduction to 1h 36m by 2033, with travel to Birmingham cut to 1h 10m from 1h 42m.
In addition, passengers travelling to Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, Warrington, Runcorn and Carlisle will also be able to travel to and from London without the need to change trains. Passengers from Chester and north Wales will be able to access high speed services to London and the Midlands via one change at Crewe.
Combined with the current programme of electrification and plans for completing the Northern Hub, this improved connectivity will unlock the enormous potential and opportunities that cities like Liverpool have to offer – making them more attractive places to locate and do business. The taskforce will also look at how HS2 can link into and maximise growth from other big infrastructure developments, such as the Super Port in which £1.8 billion is planned to be invested over the next 10 years.
From Liverpool, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce Lord Deighton said:
For centuries Liverpool and the north west has built thriving trade and industry by pioneering new infrastructure such as the railways, ferries and the skyscraper. Now, investments such as the Super Port are cementing the region’s place as a trade hub and the link to HS2 at Crewe will be vital to supporting the north west as it grows, providing better connections to cities around the UK and freeing up vital capacity on the current line.
An estimated 70% of jobs from HS2 are expected to be outside London and the growth taskforce is determined to see the benefits of HS2 stretch far and wide. Growth and regeneration will not just be handed on a plate, but by planning ahead and thinking big, Liverpool could benefit long before the first HS2 train arrives.
The government believes HS2 will be a key driver of jobs and growth. While research published recently by KPMG showed that HS2 could boost productivity across the UK by up to £15 billion per year within 5 years of the railway opening. The government sees the taskforce as crucial in unlocking this potential.
For places not immediately on the HS2 route, Network Rail’s report, ‘Better connections’, shows how over 100 towns and cities on the existing network could benefit from quicker, more frequent journeys and faster connections. It explains that very little additional capacity can be squeezed from the existing railway. HS2 will provide Britain’s main rail arteries with new capacity, taking significant inter-city traffic off the existing network and allowing more local and regional services to run on these lines.
Membership of the taskforce - an independent expert group comprising senior business, academia and local government representatives - was originally confirmed in July. Last Autumn it published its initial report, HS2 Growth Taskforce: the challenge. In it Lord Deighton says towns and cities across the country need to act now to become ‘HS2-ready’. The document sets out the key areas on which its final report will focus. It will provide recommendations to government later this year.
- better connect 18 of Britain’s cities either directly or indirectly
- provide 351 miles of track linking London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds
- see Phase One open in 2026 and Phase Two open in 2033
- see up to 18 trains per hour run in each direction with Phase Two
- see trains run at 225 miles per hour, with the potential to increase this to 250 miles per hour