Birmingham business leaders have voiced concerns that local commuter services will be forced off the rails if the High Speed Rail (HS2) plans don’t go ahead soon.
The Chamber of Commerce, in its evidence to an All-Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry into HS2, said rail travel in the UK was “a disaster waiting to happen”.
Capacity on local services is at critical levels, the chamber said, with demand for rail travel soon far exceeding the UK’s capacity if nothing is done.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham chamber, said: “HS2 offers us the chance to build national transport infrastructure around the needs of our 21st century economy. Currently we’ve shaped our economy around our Victorian infrastructure and it is high time that we begin to invest in our future.
“Transport is vital to the success of business and HS2 will create 22,000 jobs and add an extra £1.5 billion of investment into our economy every year.
“The Secretary of State has confirmed her commitment to HS2 but we must not become complacent. The Bill for the first leg of HS2 will take a number of years to make it through Parliament and we must ensure that it does so as quickly as possible and ensure that Parliament is clear that HS2 is vital to the future success of our economy.”