HS2 Hub station plan for Crewe

Key players from the region’s railway industry are meeting in South Cheshire today (December 4) to outline the benefits of the proposed HS2 North West hub station at Crewe.

And it comes on the same day Chancellor George Osborne visited Bentley in Crewe to further outline the impact of his Autumn statement on the economy.

Bentley has just announced 300 new jobs at its Crewe plant as it continues to expand, with manufacturing seen as one of the big factors behind the UK’s economic recovery.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins is advising the Government that a new station in Crewe should be built and operational by 2027, five years earlier than first expected.

Journey times between Crewe and London would be cut to just 55 minutes, 35 minutes quicker than the fastest current journey.

But HS2 has many critics over the huge cost of the project, the damage to the environment, and impact on home owners living near the line which will run from London to Birmingham before splitting off to the north west via Crewe.

Cheshire East Council Leader Cllr Michael Jones, rail enthusiast and music mogul Pete Waterman, and Network Rail’s Rupert Walker are among the speakers at the “Next Generation Rail Cheshire” conference at Crewe Hall.

The aim of the event is for Cheshire East to outline its vision for HS2 in Cheshire and Staffordshire.

Cllr Jones said: “The HS2 North West hub will produce 64,000 jobs and boost the North West’s economic output by £3.5 billion per annum.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our region to thrive and prosper as an economic powerhouse.

“The hub will create new jobs, growth and prosperity not only for Cheshire, but the surrounding area, including Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

“I will be reiterating this council’s desire to work with our nearer neighbours in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to ensure our region gets maximum benefit from this historic opportunity.”

Pete Waterman will talk about how the country can build on its Victorian rail heritage to make the network fit for modern day travel needs.

Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Christine Gaskell will also give a speech, and Rupert Walker will discuss how high-speed rail should create a better rail network for Britain.

Mathew Conway, director of OSL Global, will outline the roles that University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and training facilities like RETA (Royal Exchange Training Academy) will play in industry-led projects.

Other subjects to be discussed will be around minimising the construction impacts of HS2 and addressing the rail ‘skills challenge’.

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