The world leading HS2 will see Britain, once again, propel the rail operations into the future. As the birthplace of the modern railway, it is right and fitting that the country will see the next step in rail travel take form, right here on home soil.
So far, the HS2 has resulted in around 6,000 jobs, which support the project, with many of these located within the 2,000 businesses that are involved in supporting the project and delivering work to further its development. These jobs span across a vast range of industries, from the largest ground excavation in British history to planting over 7million trees and shrubs.
With thousands of people across Britain, working to bring the brand new, state of the art railway to reality, the project has been slated as the largest programme of early works that the UK has ever seen, with major construction commencing in 2019. The railway looks to support business across the UK, improve accessibility to core cities and allow the UK to more easily export to countries worldwide.
The building and development project alone spans more than 15 years, with continued opportunities and boosted direct economic benefits once in operation, through maintenance and operational jobs and contracts for businesses.
Connecting the UK
Providing a connection between London and the South East, with the rest of the country, the HS2 will support in rebalancing the UK economy and make commuting for both business and pleasure, far more accessible and quick.
With UK road systems becoming overcrowded and little potential to expand their capacity, increasing the public transport offering with the HS2 will likely see relief from gridlock in cities and built-up areas.
Moreover, journey times could be dramatically reduced with the HS2 seeing journey times shorten considerably, with commuters able to reach London from Birmingham in less than one hour and more people able to easily reach HS1, providing better connections with Europe.
Attracting new investment
With increased transportation capabilities and ease of travel, local and foreign investments will likely become even more prevalent with the overarching accessibility of the UK acting as a key selling point.
The environmental impact is intended to be mitigated by an increased number of trees planted and the creation of green tunnels. These tunnels, also known as cut-and-cover, require a trench to be excavated and then roofed over in order to blend into the landscape more effectively and reduce the disturbance to the local area.
The increased reliability and speed of rail travel may also see a significant reduction in short distance air-travel, with commuters less inclined to fly from the North to the South. This will allow the UK to reduce its overall carbon footprint and produce fewer emissions.
With £17bn to be spread across the 15-20 years of the project, the average £1-£2bn annual capital investment will see a considerable number of new jobs created, will contribute to stimulating economic activity and offer an increased rate of return.
As a result of the improved connections, businesses will be more likely to branch out and seek locations outside of London and the core hubs for their head offices and factories, creating further opportunities for workers, particularly in the North.
Finally, a reduced number of people commuting via car in the UK could see an overall decrease in accidents. With train track-record of accidents significantly lower than road traffic accidents, we could see a decline in the number of casualties and fatalities on the roads. This could result in less pressure on the emergency services and prove to be an overall safer option for the public.
Overall, it is anticipated that the HS2 will cost around £32billion to build, will generate £27 billion in fares and will provide £44 billion of economic benefits, building a strong economic case for the infrastructure investment.