Chester MP Chris Matheson led a debate in parliament yesterday about the benefits of HS2 to the North West economy.
He highlighted that a regional rail hub at Crewe would extend the benefits of the new line to 1.5 million people across the North West and North Wales, reducing their travel time to London by an hour.
During the debate, ahead of the Government’s announcement of its proposals for HS2 Phase Two, Mr Matheson made the case for a hub at Crewe, in line with the findings of Sir David Higgin’s HS2 Plus report and work undertaken by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), explaining the role that the hub would play in revitalising the Northern economy.
He stressed that its location at the heart of the North West rail system, with lines radiating towards Manchester, Liverpool, Stoke, Derby, Warrington, and on to Lancashire, Scotland and Shrewsbury in mid-Wales as well as Chester, North Wales and the Wirral, would enable all of these places to enjoy the benefits of the huge investment the nation is making in the new line.
He said: “By linking such improvements into the services radiating out from a proper rail hub at Crewe, we can offer even more people in Cheshire, north Wales and Merseyside the benefits of the journey time improvements that HS2 provides.
“It is important for me to work with the LEP and local businesses to get the best deal for businesses and enterprise in our area.”
He added that HS2 needs to be recognised as a truly national project that should have truly national benefits.
Christine Gaskell, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “This debate comes at a crucial time as we await the Government’s announcement on its plans for Phase Two of HS2.
“HS2 will be transformational for our economy, and a regional rail hub at Crewe, along with investment in the wider road and other infrastructure, will ensure that its benefits reach the widest number of people possible and drive significant growth in our economy and the wider North.”
The debate also highlighted the Growth Track 360 report, published by an alliance of business, political and public sector leaders, which sets out a further programme of rail improvements that will transform the economies of Cheshire and North Wales by providing better links between the two regions.
To read the full debate click here.