Ontrack4hs2 is dedicated to keeping the Sheffield City Region business community up to speed on plans for HS2 phase two and maximising the benefits high speed rail will bring to the regional economy
As can be seen, the ‘Facts’ section of the website actually contains very little in the way of facts:
Top 10 reasons we’re on track for HS2
HS2 is critical to future business growth in the north and to the economic success of the Sheffield City Region in particular. It will encourage investment and make doing business easier.
In the Sheffield City Region HS2 is forecast to create more than 5,000 jobs.
Supply chain opportunities
There will be fantastic supply chain opportunities for local businesses. Building HS2 is a £42.6 billion project, involving the laying of 330 miles of track, the construction of four new stations and the redevelopment of five existing stations.
In addition, new rolling stock will also be needed to run on the line – again creating potential opportunities for local businesses.
HS2 will reduce passenger journey times between Sheffield and London and will also vastly improve connectivity between the Sheffield City Region and other key cities in the UK including Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham and Derby.
Connectivity will also be improved to the regional tram and bus network.
A HS2 station within the SCR
Under the current proposals the Sheffield City Region will benefit from having one of only a small number of stations on the HS2 phase two line.
Between Birmingham and Leeds the line will only have two stops – one at Toton, serving Nottingham and Derby, and the other at either Meadowhall or the city centre. The location of the Sheffield station will be decided in mid- 2015.
Building on our rail heritage
HS2 will provide a major boost for the Sheffield City Region’s rail industry which already has more than 200 companies employing more than 6,000 people.
The region is home to a number of major rail manufacturing firms including DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Hitachi. It is anticipated that these as well as many other local firms could benefit from HS2 – and it could attract other firms into the region in the future.
Rebalancing the economy
HS2 offers the opportunity to rebalance the UK economy – shifting the emphasis away from London and allowing the Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and North East regions to thrive.
Recent decades have seen the balance of the UK economy shift away from the north as its traditional manufacturing industries have declined. HS2 phase two presents real opportunities to reverse this trend.
Creating additional capacity
HS2 phase two will significantly address the capacity issues facing the rail network – as our population grows and passenger numbers increase. It will also help to ease congestion on the motorway network.
HS2 will, for example, provide five new services every hour between both London and Birmingham – in addition to the two conventional rail services each hour between these cities, which will continue after HS2 is built.
High speed trains will also be larger and longer than existing services enabling them to carry more passengers. In turn this will free up capacity for rail freight, boosting the region’s growing logistics and rail import/export business.
Opportunity to improve existing SCR rail services
HS2 also presents real opportunities to improve capacity on existing rail services in the Sheffield City Region. A study by the West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has estimated that by improving existing services in this way the Sheffield and Leeds City Regions will gain additional benefits of between £300m and £800m.
Becoming a Centre of Excellence for high speed rail engineering
Recently it was announced that one of two centres of excellence for high speed rail engineering to support HS2 will be built in the region. Doncaster was chosen for the site of the National High Speed Rail College in October 2014.
The college, which opens in 2017, will ensure the country as a whole has the skills and expertise needed to deliver the HS2 project. Birmingham will be second site for the college.
The real facts are
- demand for rail travel between South Yorkshire and London is very low
- demand for rail travel within South Yorkshire is pitifully low
- the county already has two separate main line rail links to London
- most people in the ‘Sheffield City Region’ would find the existing rail system and stations more useful for their journeys
- HS2 offers minimal opportunity to “free up” Yorkshire rail capacity
- the last passenger rolling stock manufacturer in Sheffield — Cravens — closed around 1966
- carriage manufacture in Doncaster ceased over 40 years ago
- the likelihood of the ‘City Region’ becoming a world leader in high speed rail is effectively zero.