UK Transport Minister recognises Midlands as 'heart of HS2’
In discussions with businesses at the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, the minister talked about the vital role HS2 will play in achieving the potential of the Midlands Engine, supporting 100,000 new jobs, bringing major cities, skilled workers and businesses closer together and increasing productivity.
The minister then visited the National College for High Speed Rail. With 2,000 apprenticeships being created by HS2, she met with students to learn about how they are gaining the specialist qualifications required to build HS2 and lead the way on future rail infrastructure projects.
She also met young engineers at Rolls Royce’s Apprentice Academy in Derby, discussing how HS2 will bring businesses, skilled workers and major cities closer together, and the vital role they can play in the government’s Year of Engineering campaign.
With an additional 186,000 engineers needed every year until 2024 to fill all the engineering roles required by the UK, the minister encouraged the apprentices to be role models and help provide one million schoolchildren with an inspiring experience of engineering.
Ghani also visited Curzon Street station, where she was joined by West Midland Mayor Andy Street to discuss the regeneration of the area, with the potential to create around 14,000 new jobs and unlock 600,000 square metres of new development space across Eastside and Digbeth.
Closed in 1966, Curzon Street will reopen as a new iconic station and Birmingham’s largest building, with 7 platforms providing HS2 services initially to London in 2026 and then to the north west, north east and Scotland as the full HS2 network is delivered.
HS2 will unlock capacity for new and additional freight services on the existing rail network, as well as faster and more frequent trains and thousands more seats for passengers. ■