Following our report on HS2 in the London area last month, in this issue we will look at the impact of the HS2 project in the West Midlands area.
Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that the West Midlands is likely to be the area of the country most impacted by the arrival of HS2. The initial line from London will eventually be joined by diverging lines to the northwest and Yorkshire. Ultimately the West Midlands will be the real hub of the country’s high speed rail network and better connected than London.
Progress so far
With initial works now underway HS2 is scheduled to arrive in the Birmingham area with the completion of Phase 1 from London to Birmingham in 2027, although the early 2030s seems more likely.
Initially, the West Midlands will be a terminus not a hub. The lines to Crewe, eventually going on to Manchester (Phase 2a and 2b) and to Leeds (also Phase 2b) are not planned to open until late 2033 and it will likely be later. Assuming Phase 2 is approved the current timetable suggests actual construction work north of Birmingham will start in mid-2023.
There have been a number of economic projections regarding HS2 here. The West Midlands Combined Authority HS2 Growth Strategy says the scheme has the potential to add £14bn to the regional economy and support 100,000 jobs.
Currently there are two main West Midlands HS2 locations to consider: