Sir Terry Morgan, Chair, HS2 Ltd:
“The North West is home to over 7 million people and around 3.5 million jobs. It has a large and diverse economy, but its people and businesses are without doubt being held back from achieving more because of failing transport connections in the region.
“As the new Chair of HS2 Ltd, I’m committed to driving forward our plans to extend HS2 from the Midlands to the North. I truly believe that Britain’s new railway will play a key part in ensuring regions like the North West boost productivity, whilst simultaneously revamping the rail infrastructure for passengers in the North.
“HS2 will serve 12 new or existing stations in the North West: Carlisle, Crewe, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Oxenholme, Penrith, Preston, Runcorn, Warrington, and Wigan. This will deliver a fundamental change in how people travel for work and leisure as they go about their daily lives. Aligned to that, it will result in more jobs, new homes, and greater investment right across the region.
“More people will be able to visit the North West for tourism. Workers will have more opportunities to gain employment and advanced manufacturing companies such as Rolls Royce will be closer to their supply chains.
“With the West Coast Main Line already busy and in need of regular upgrade works, which result in frequent line closures, HS2 will provide passengers with more choice, more seats and shorter journey times. It will free up much needed space on the existing railway, allowing for more local rail services between towns and cities.
“What HS2 can and will do is revolutionise rail travel in the UK, though it has always been about much more than that. In designing and creating this pinnacle of British engineering it sends a massive statement of intent to the world.
“We cannot achieve the full potential of HS2 alone and we know that. Our true legacy will lie in the commitment we’re seeing from local authorities, businesses and enterprise partnerships right across the region, who are driving forward plans to regenerate HS2 station destinations and the wider conurbations they serve. We’re partnering with them to ensure that local people and companies will see and feel the benefits for years to come.
“This is an exciting time for the North as it is set to benefit from the biggest investment in transport for decades. We’re part of that story, and by working closely with our colleagues at Transport for the North, we’re committed to making faster and better rail connections around the North a reality. We are not rivals, but partners, and together we will build and create a rail network that the North so desperately needs.
“Passengers will benefit. Workers will have skills that are in demand. Towns and cities will be regenerated.
“The historic railway town of Crewe will be reinvigorated by our arrival. We will improve journey times and connectivity between the Midlands and the North and we are fast becoming integral to local plans to drive business growth, create jobs, and secure investment years before HS2 arrives.
“Construction on Phase One of the new railway between Birmingham and London is now well underway and over 7,000 jobs are already supported to build the new line. When construction peaks, as the full network reaches the North West, that figure is forecast to rise to 30,000. It is why companies of all sizes in the North West have been talking to us to understand how they can play their part in building our new railway, and over ninety are already on board and working with us.
“So when a HS2 train pulls out of Liverpool, Manchester or Preston it will only tell part of our story, because we are more than just a railway. We are the key ingredient for an enhanced Northern transport network, improved rail services, an upskilled workforce, and a thriving Northern economy.”