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HS2 can help realise the potential of the North

Written by Allan Cook, HS2 Ltd Chairman.

As Chair of HS2 Ltd, I am proud of the vital role we will play in helping to make the Plan a reality.

We are working with our colleagues at Transport for the North to build infrastructure that can transform the economy in the North. As partners, we will create a rail network that people in the North deserve and so desperately need.

Together, we will improve connectivity, reliability, reduce journey times and make it easier for people to move around the country. This improved connectivity will help companies to grow their businesses and potentially open up new markets.

Map of Britain showing how HS2 will connect 4 economic powerhouses
HS2 will connect 4 economic powerhouses, which will play a significant role in rebalancing our economy and joining up Britain.

HS2 is not an end in itself, it is an enabler for the enhanced Northern transport network which people want to see; improved rail services, an upskilled workforce, and a thriving Northern economy.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to link up the Midlands, the North and Scotland.

HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are integral to the Governments’ Industrial Strategy which is designed to increase economic growth leading to higher levels of employment, improved transportation and higher standards of living.

Our trains will call at 19 new or existing stations in the North: Carlisle, Crewe, Darlington, Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Oxenholme, Penrith, Preston, Runcorn, Sheffield, Warrington, Wigan and York.

Infographic indicating Leeds Station with accompanying quote,
Over 25 stations connecting around 30 million people.

However our true legacy will lie in the commitment we are seeing from local authorities, business groups, and enterprise partnerships and of course Transport for the North who have fully embraced HS2.

HS2 is now integral to local plans to drive business growth, create careers, and secure investment years before HS2 arrives.

An example of this regeneration is around the historic railway town of Crewe. The town and surrounding area will be reinvigorated by HS2’s arrival as we work towards a station hub as part of the Crewe Masterplan.

Darlington Station Growth Hub

will see around £100 million of investment to make the station a part of the heart of the town.

Leeds City Region’s HS2 Growth Strategy will pump an extra £54 billion into the regional economy.

Together, these plans and ambitions show no boundaries and we are partnering with communities to ensure that local people and companies see and feel the benefits for generations

This is why companies of all sizes in the North have been talking to us to understand how they can play their part in building Britain’s new railway. Hundreds of companies – large and small – are already involved.

It is important that we continue to work together to deliver HS2 and ensure that we maximise the benefits now.

I was born, raised and educated in Sunderland. It is my home city. I now live even further north – in Fife! I can sense the excitement; I can see the massive opportunities – but I also recognise the challenges ahead.

We must never lose sight of the scale of the prize: the chance to transform, not just transport in this country, but our economy as a whole to make it more productive, more balanced and capable of competing successfully in a very competitive global market.