BIRMINGHAM will be one of the best connected cities in the UK providing jobs and economic growth right across the West Midlands, including Solihull, says transport minister Stephen Hammond.
Mr Hammond visited Birmingham for a tour of the proposed HS2 station site at Moor Street last week as plans for phase 2 were unveiled by the Government linking Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds.
“Birmingham and the West Midlands can take advantage of being right at the centre of the high-speed rail network and the benefits it will bring to the existing rail and road network through released capacity,” Mr Hammond said.
“HS2 is vital as an engine for growth in the UK and the West Midlands will be at the heart of that.”
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said journey times between Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds would be halved by HS2.
“This provides a real economic boost and releases capacity on our crowded existing network for more local, regional and freight services,” he said.
“We’re excited because we’re right at the heart of this network and the challenge for us now is to get the very best return we can from HS2.”
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett added: “Fast direct high speed rail connections and lower operating costs will make the West Midlands – which will be at the heart of a network stretching from London to Scotland - an increasingly attractive alternative to the overheated South East for business investment.”
The announcement of HS2 phase 2 connects the West Midlands with the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West, linking eight of the UK’s ten biggest cities.
Independent research reveals phase one of HS2 (from Birmingham to London) will generate 22,000 jobs in the West Midlands and deliver £1.5bn per year to the regional economy.