Representing companies with relevant experience and an interest in high speed rail, the High Speed Rail Group is committed to supporting the successful delivery of a world-class high speed rail network in Britain. Our members have helped deliver major infrastructure projects in the UK and around the world, ranging from creating entirely new high speed networks through to maintaining and improving the UK’s existing rail network. This gives us a unique insight into both the shortcomings in the current network, and the transformative capacity, connectivity and carbon benefits that high speed rail can bring.

Our unique set of expertise in engineering, operations, funding and regulation gives us the experience to ensure the extension of the high speed rail network leaves a lasting legacy for the UK. The company’s principal object is:

“to support, promote and champion the development of high-speed rail in Great Britain”.

2019 was a critical one for HS2. There has been increased scrutiny of the project, culminating in the Government’s announcement of the Oakervee Review at the end of August, which dominated our end of year activity. Here we set out a year view of the variety of activities we have undertaken to make the case for HS2.  There have been a number of substantial achievements, which have taken the form of events, media, thought leadership and political engagement.

Find out more about what we do and how to get involved. Set out below is a walk through of our activity for last year:

January

Parliamentary reception to mark HS2 ‘Year of Delivery,’ supported by the Department for Transport (DfT) and bringing together Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs, HSR Group members and suppliers. Received coverage in key trade publications, including Rail (print).

Conservative Home Op-Ed from HSR Group Director John Downer on why without HS2, Britain has no strategy to grow regional economies.

Yorkshire Post Op-Ed from HSR Group Director Will Roberts on why HS2 is a vote of confidence in the North which must not be stopped.

February 

Jigsaw puzzle launch held in Birmingham with the Minister for HS2; Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street; and Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward.  Also included apprentices, business organisations, supply chains, HS2 and National College for High Speed Rail. The high-profile visual event brought together HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect to publicly champion the interdependency of all three schemes as one unified voice.

New Civil Engineer cover HSR Group expertise Item published in NCE, looking at how HS2 has been used as an exemplar project to developers of V4 High Speed Rail project, and the role played by key HSR Group delegates.

 Top table dinner sponsored by HSR Group membership, brought together local stakeholders with regional keynote speaker.

Key media reactions Letter responding to Liz Truss’ anti-HS2 comments published in The Times (print).

April

Member Recruitment Lunch hosted at Stephenson Harwood, with current and potential members in attendance. Remarks from Tom Kelly, HS2 Strategic Communications Director.

Rail Engineer Op-Ed from HSR Group Director John Downer on unlocking the benefits of HS2.

Key media reactions Letter responding to Kate Andrews piece on Government HS2 grandstanding published in City AM (print).

May

North Wales MPs dinner with Mersey Dee North Wales APPG. Engagement with important group of cross- party MPs who are linked to HS2 via Crewe Hub, representing an industrial heartland covering nearly one million people that could benefit from the HS2 supply chain.

Times Red Box Op-ed from HSR Group Director Will Roberts on why opponents of HS2 lack belief in Britain’s ability to deliver.

City AM Op-Ed from HSR Group Director John Downer arguing against the question ‘Is it time to accept the sunk cost and scrap HS2?’

Key media reactions HSR Group responded to Taxpayer’s Alliance report. Featured in key trade publications.

June

Pre- conference dinner sponsored by HSR Group members Bombardier and Hitachi. Brought together conference speakers for a HSR Group -chaired dinner prior to annual conference.

Annual conference in Manchester Flagship annual event to advocate for HS2 and bring supporters together, held this year in Manchester. Speakers included the Minister for HS2, Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, HS2 Chair Allan Cook, Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Henri Murison and was hosted by Sky’s Sarah-Jane Mee. Conference received press coverage across key trade publications, including New Civil Engineer.

Key media reactions HSR Group release response hailing HS2 proposed train designs.

July

‘Why Britain needs HS2’ published restating the case for HS2 and highlighting why the scheme is essential to solving the UK’s North South divide. Press coverage included op-eds from HSR Group Director Jim Steer in the Yorkshire Post, Northern Echo (print) and Birmingham Mail (print); along with an op-ed from two key line of route Labour MPs on Labour List.

August

HSR Group submitted evidence to Treasury Select Committee Inquiry into regional imbalances in the UK economy. Submission can be found here.

HSR Group Oakervee engagement begun following announcement of review and publication of terms of reference.

September

Oakervee submission HSR Group submitted response to Oakervee Review, detailing the key reasons HS2 must be completed in full, all the way. Coverage of submission letter in the Financial Times (print).

HSR Group Labour Conference events programme Well attended drinks reception, co-hosted with Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Rail Delivery Group (RDG). Speakers included Liam Byrne MP and Barry White (Transport for the North). Wider conference programme included Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald.

Key media reactions HSR Group response to Transport Secretary statement to the House of Commons published in key nationals, including the Daily Mirror and City AM (print). HSR Group Director Jim Steer article on why Lord Berkeley’s plan for a scaled back HS2 doesn’t work published in Rail (print). HSR Group response to Greater London Authority Conservatives report ‘High Speed Fail’ published in Rail and HSR Group response welcoming Midlands Connect released capacity report.

October

HSR Group Conservative Conference events programme Well attended drinks reception, co-hosted with RIA and RDG. Speakers including Baroness Vere and Tim Wood (Northern Powerhouse Rail). Wider conference programme included Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Apprentice photo call with Apprentices from across the HSR Group membership in attendance, letter from Apprentices on ‘HS2 our future’ handed into Department for Transport. Coverage across trade media.

Industrial Strategy event with International Trade Minister Graham Stuart Event linking HS2 to Government’s primary economic framework, the Industrial Strategy. Brought together wide set of voices, bodies and organisations, generating advocacy and content.

‘HS2 North West’ Voices published with contributions drawn from business, politics and the public sector, across the North West of England. Set out core arguments for HS2 in the region including capacity, connectivity, business growth and export power, housing development, tourism, the environment and NPR. National coverage, including cross- party MP op-ed in Huff Post and story cross Business Live.

HSR Group PQQ announcement on streamlining HS2 procurement for civils sub-contractors received coverage across a number of trade titles, including Infrastructure Intelligence.

Key media reactions HSR Group response to Adam Smith Institute anti- HS2 report featured in City AM, and letter responding to Green Party rejection of HS2 published in the Financial Times.

November

‘HS2- towards a zero carbon future’ report published detailing the importance of HS2 to achieving net zero emissions, and engendering modal shift from road and air to rail. National coverage, including in City AM, significant trade coverage, along with op-ed from HSR Group Director Jim Steer.

See our membership page for details of how to join the High Speed Rail Group.