High Speed Rail Group (HSRG) has published a collection of essays by leading figures from the worlds of politics, business and industry detailing the huge benefits high-speed rail has and will bring to London and the South East, along with the UK more widely.
‘High Speed Rail: London and South East Voices’ suggest that, as the southern starting point for HS2 construction, London will play a key role in ensuring the future success of the project, setting the precedent for world-class construction, supply chain development and utilisation, and realising the wide-ranging benefits of the scheme.
The writers also make it clear that region is in a unique position to comment on the transformational impact of high-speed rail as home to the UK’s original high speed line, HS1, and that this will provide a blueprint for the successful implementation of HS2.
The collection includes contributions from Jasmine Whitbread (chief executive, London First), Dyan Crowther (chief executive, HS1), Damian Green (Member of Parliament for Ashford), Deirdre Wells OBE (chief executive, Visit Kent), Liz Peace CBE (chairman, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation), Steve Higham (managing director UK & Ireland Engineering, SYSTRA UK), Cllr Heather Johnson (chairman, Camden Council Planning Committee) and Kat Hanna (masterplan strategist, Lendlease).
The essay collection offers analysis and ideas on high speed rail across a number of key areas:
- Improvement in connectivity to and between regions, Europe and the global economy and the economic benefits this brings;
- Integrating the national economy and increasing investment and trade opportunities and joining major economic centres resulting in mutual benefit;
- Immediate and longer-term job creation during and post-construction of the programme;
- Supporting cities and towns including through increased tourism;
- Supporting new homes and investment in communities, including the UK’s largest regeneration project;
- Gains from the operational reliability and efficiency of high-speed rail;
- Development of cutting-edge project management in major infrastructure delivery;
- Environmental benefits accrued by switching from road and air to rail.