TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the majority of the preferred HS2 route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.
Business leaders in Lancashire have been quick to recognise the benefits that high speed rail will deliver.
Mr Grayling’s confirmation is seen as a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.
A recent report published by HS2 Ltd, Changing Britain: HS2 taking root, outlines how years before the first train runs, high speed rail is becoming a pivotal part of local plans to drive local business growth, create jobs, secure investment and increase connectivity.
Establishing a HS2 growth strategy is recognised as an important element of enabling Preston station to be a driver of economic growth.
For a county which underperformed in average growth statistics, it’s recognised as a vital factor to rebalance the local economy and allow Lancashire to compete again.
HS2’s improved connectivity will help Lancashire’s major business sectors to prosper; its aerospace clusters, energy sector, University presence in Preston city centre and tourism industry, anchored by Blackpool, are all expected to see growth and benefits.
In the long-term, productivity gains from HS2 could help provide an extra £600 million for the Lancashire LEP region and 3,000 additional jobs in Preston and South Ribble. In Preston itself, HS2 could mean 75,000 extra visitors a year, adding £3.3 million to the city’s economy annually
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our railways owe much to the Victorian engineers who pioneered them, but we cannot rest on their legacy when our railways face overcrowding and capacity problems. HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the Government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century; one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business.”