The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has agreed to work with Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils on a number of priorities to maximise the economic benefits from HS2 – including the opening of the East Midlands Hub station “in the 2020s”.
High-speed services are not expected to start at the station until 2033.
The commitment was made following a meeting between transport secretary Chris Grayling and representatives of Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils in Nottingham.
All parties have agreed to work towards:
- Partially opening the East Midlands Hub station at Toton, Nottinghamshire, in the 2020s, at least for Network Rail services, to support and stimulate the development of the planned Innovation Campus nearby, which has the potential to create 10,000 new jobs;
- Early delivery of road infrastructure around the Hub to support the early phases of the Innovation Campus;
- Relocating the Network Rail/DB Cargo depot in Toton to another site within the East Midlands to facilitate the development of the Innovation Campus;
- Establishing an East Midlands “delivery body” to realise the potential of the Innovation Campus and associated Garden Village housing developments.
Midlands Connect, which is the transport arm of the Midlands Engine – an organisation made up of local authorities to help the region compete with London and the Northern Powerhouse – said that it will continue to press the DfT to ensure a link between the Midland Main Line and HS2 Phase 2b is operational for the start of HS2.
This will ensure that classic compatible trains can serve the north of England from the East Midlands, which would be of particular benefit to Leicester.
Midlands Connect chair Sir John Peace said: “We have said for a long time that more investment in transport and infrastructure in the East Midlands can have a transformative impact on its economy and the quality of life of the millions of people who live here.
“I’m therefore pleased that the government is already in dialogue with the Midlands Connect team and East Midlands Councils to accelerate connectivity around the HS2 Hub station at Toton.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the region and I am looking forward to further meetings early in 2018 to keep up the momentum.”
It is estimated that HS2 will deliver 74,000 jobs and add nearly £4 billion to the East Midlands’ economy by 2043.
Read more: East Midlands drafts rail masterplan