Midlands Connect hails HS2's latest step as vitally important

HS2's expansion to the north will be of huge benefit to the West Midlands, a lobby group claimed today.

HS2 train design
HS2 train design

The Midlands Connect partnership welcomed the latest step towards the delivery of HS2

As the Bill for the western leg of phase 2b of HS2 was be laid in Parliament, Maria Machancoses, chief executive of Midlands Connect said it was a watershed moment in the future of the high-speed railway.

She said: "This extension of HS2 from London and Birmingham to Manchester will give the West Midlands and North West the fast, reliable rail connectivity these regions so desperately need. What’s important now is that we seize upon this momentum to accelerate the job creation, investment and regeneration that makes this investment so transformative.

“While it’s great news that the Western Leg of HS2 is moving forward with pace, the Eastern Leg of HS2 from the Midlands to Yorkshire and the North East is still vitally important. We’re working with Government to feed into its study into how to best connect these areas and in the meantime are keen that a Bill is introduced to speed the delivery of the network between Birmingham and the East Midlands, as outlined in Government’s Integrated Rail Plan.”

Midlands Connect is the transport partner of the Midlands Engine, and the Midlands’ sub-national transport body.

It researches, develops and champions long-term transport projects which will provide the biggest possible economic, social and environmental benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK.

Its 25-year transport strategy for the region has the potential to add £5 billion a year to the UK economy, contributing to the Midlands Engine vision of creating 300,000 additional jobs by 2030 and growing the economy by £54 billion.

The partnership is made up of 22 local authorities, nine Local Enterprise Partnerships, Birmingham and East Midlands airports, and chambers of commerce stretching from the Welsh border to the Lincolnshire coast. The partnership also includes the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Highways England and HS2 Ltd.

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