HS2 – How can my business benefit from it?
What is HS2?
High Speed Two (HS2) is the most significant government invest in transport infrastructure in a generation. Due to open between 2029 and 2033, Phase One will connect the West Midlands and London with fast, frequent and reliable services. The brand new high speed station at Curzon Street in the heart of Birmingham will run to London Euston via a new Interchange station at Birmingham Airport near Solihull. The new high speed line will provide a step change in capacity between the two cities and reduce journey times to just 45 minutes. Phase One received Royal Assent in February 2017 and construction is already underway.
High speed services will begin operating between London, Birmingham and Crewe between 2029 and 2033 as part of Phase 2A of the project. The UK Government plans to present an Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands shortly, which will look at how to deliver HS2 Phase 2b, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Midlands Rail Hub and other rail programmes better and more effectively. Subject to this, the Western Leg of HS2 Phase 2b will run between Crewe and Manchester, with a connection to the West Coast Main Line, and the Eastern Leg will connect the West Midlands with Leeds.
According to the Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy, the major investment in region-wide connectivity will provide access to significant employment and training opportunities for local residents, and is ultimately capable of delivering:
businesses supported to take advantage of related opportunities
additional economic input
Phase One – what does it mean for the region?
The West Midlands is already benefitting from the HS2 in a number of ways:
- HS2 Ltd’s HQ at Snow Hill will eventually employ up to 1,300 people
- The region is home to the National College for High Speed Rail – providing specialist training, skills and qualifications required to build HS2 and future rail infrastructure projects
- The Curzon Investment Plan is worth almost 1 billion and will look to create 36,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and 600,000m of commercial floor space
- 500 people will be employed to maintain the rolling stock at Washwood Heath Depot
- The Likes of HSBC, Jacobs Engineering and Interserve are choosing the West Midlands because of the catalytic effect of HS2’s arrival
- Growth Hubs have combined across the region to develop a programme of support to help local businesses access supply chain opportunities (for example a £20m Rail Growth Fund is in place which provides loans of up to £2m to rail supply chain firms)
- The WMCA has adopted a £4.4bn HS2 Growth Strategy which sets out how the positive effect of HS2 will be maximised across the region. The realisation of the Strategy will help improve connectivity across the region, create better transport links across the UK and free up much needed capacity on our roads
Phase 2 – What does it mean for the region?
The second phase of the project will launch in two distinct phases and in many ways is crucial to the prospects of our region and the country as a whole. Phase 2A will run from the West Midlands up to Crewe beginning between 2029 and 2033 and subject to Government approval, Phase 2B will run from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds. Furthermore, the catalytic effect of the project will extend far beyond cities that will contain a new High Speed Station.
- More than half of the benefits from HS2 will emerge as a result of improved reliability, reduced waiting times, less cars on the road and more frequent services.
- Phase 2 will put our region at the heart of a new national network as Birmingham will be connect to eight of the ten largest cities in the UK - allowing our businesses to access new domestic and international markets in order to trade in new skills and products.
- Not only will this provide a major uplift to our productivity levels, it will also play a massive role in rebalancing the economy – a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy
With construction of the second phase due to be approved by Parliament, the GBCC produced a Communications Pack which outlined the socio-economic benefits the second part of the project will bring to the region and country as a whole. The Pack was shared with other Chambers based along the route of Phase 2 and consisted of:
- News articles sent to over 3000 businesses in the Greater Birmingham region.
- Letters sent to Local MPs encouraging them to vote in support of Phase 2
- Blog posts shared with over 16,000 local business contacts
Preet Gill MP outlining the strategic importance of HS2
Mark Thurston, CEO HS2 and Richard Kirkham, LM Project Director
If you require any further information regarding the Chambers work around HS2 opportunities, please contact our team, firstname.lastname@example.org