Local, regional and national political leaders joined HSRIL at an event in Birmingham to present a positive and compelling message about how HS2 is the ‘missing piece’ in bridging national connectivity divides. The event, at which a giant jigsaw was unveiled, highlighted that for the UK to get the full regional benefits of HS2, the project must be completed in its entirety and integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and Midlands Connect. The event underscored that these schemes need HS2 to be delivered and that HS2 brings the greatest benefits with the completion of these schemes.

The event highlighted how HS2 is transformative. Through HS2, NPR and Midlands Connect, journey times are dramatically reduced and connections and capacity hugely increased between cities and regions across the Midlands and the North. HS2 will connect 30 million people, open up business and leisure opportunities, support an increase in jobs and growth, release rail capacity and change the way freight can be moved, taking lorries off the road.

The benefits of delivering the programme are already being seen in the Midlands with hundreds of businesses securing HS2 contracts, as part of around 2,000 businesses across the UK who are helping to deliver HS2. HS2 is expected to generate £92 billion in benefits to the UK economy and create 30,000 jobs with 70% of these jobs created outside London. The event brought together apprentices that are being trained and are helping construct HS2, businesses from across the country that are part of the HS2 supply chain and represent areas on the jigsaw, and business organisations such as the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce that are helping to secure opportunities and benefits.

Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for HS2 said:

“HS2 will be the backbone of Britain’s rail network, supporting regeneration and economic growth across the country while providing desperately-needed capacity and better journeys for passengers.

“Birmingham and the Midlands are at the heart of this project and are already seizing the opportunities it has to offer, with hundreds of businesses across the region working on its delivery.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:

“HS2 is vital for the future of our country and the rebalancing of our national economy and the benefits are already being felt. Years before the line opens it is generating investment and creating jobs here in the West Midlands.

“We are investing in new rail, tram, bus and cycling routes as a direct result of HS2 and through the HS2 College and our apprenticeship schemes developing a skilled workforce to make the most of those opportunities.”

Iain Anderson, a Director of HSRIL said:

“The launch of HSRIL’s jigsaw today is a strong visual demonstration of the crucial importance of HS2 and the benefits that it will bring to the nations and regions of Britain. HSRIL’s jigsaw hopes to show that through this line of route, and support for Midlands Connect and Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 is joining up Britain. Whether it be the thousands of jobs, or the commitment to supporting SMEs, it is places like the Midlands and the North that will benefit most from this flagship national project.

“I would like to thank Minister Ghani, Mayor Street, and Cllr Ian Ward for their support in making today’s launch happen and in supporting HS2 all the way.”