Telford Journal Column

Connectivity is vital for business, jobs and growth in Telford.

 

Last week the Government backed High Speed 2 and published their planned route for phase 2b. This phase is the splitting of the line at Birmingham with a spur to Manchester and the North West, and a second spur to Leeds and Yorkshire.

 

With the existing West Coast Mainline due to be at full capacity in the next 10 years, High speed 2 recognises the need to increase capacity, deliver a faster rail service and provide a rail network fit for the  21st Century.

 

The new interchange at Birmingham will improves our town’s connections to the rest of the country, both North and South.

 

In 2019 Telford will gain an extra train an hour to Birmingham, providing much needed extra capacity locally.  The case for the electrification of the Birmingham to Shrewsbury line is much stronger with the introduction of HS2.  With rail usage having consistently increased in nine of the past ten years a good, reliable rail service has never been more important for supporting growth in our town.

 

Telford is a town of opportunity, one that is welcoming to businesses and people coming to make a home here. Whilst we are rightly proud of our industrial heritage and seeking to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, we also have a strong IT and new economy sector. With many of our business parks and office space located close to our stations investment in the rail network has never been more welcome.

 

I’ve long campaigned for better rail services and connections for Telford. The addition of an extra train an hour in the recent tendering of our local rail services is a real win for Telford. Having met with the previous Transport Secretary and lobbied his ministers and train operators I was delighted with this addition.

 

The next step is for us is to secure electrification of the rail line between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury. Electrification brings reliability, faster trains and less noise pollution. Whilst there are installation costs these would be outweighed in the long run.

 

High Speed 2 may be up to ten years away, but it is a project I support. Like all major infrastructure projects it has its opponents, but for a town like ours, the chance to be better connected to the rest of the country is important for our future.