Region Leaders Debate High Speed Rail


South Yorkshire leaders have been in talks about the benefits High Speed Rail will bring to the region at a conference debating development and growth. 

Representatives from Sheffield City Region (SCR) welcomed the announcement that a station will be built in South Yorkshire as part of the second phase of the High Speed Rail (HSR) network. Central Government’s initial preference is for a station to be located at Meadowhall. The M1 location is expected to give a huge boost to the surrounding area, as well as across wider South Yorkshire. 


The Sheffield City Region Chambers’ Conference for Growth was held at Doncaster Racecourse and addressed local entrepreneurship, business, promotion and growth. It saw decision makers from South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire debate the significant benefits to the region’s economy and connectivity that HSR will bring.

Doncaster Chamber of Commerce Deputy CEO, Daniel Fell, said: “Business won’t be asking the public sector for handouts or leg ups. The private sector knows that it carries the responsibility for creating growth. However, government can play a helping hand by delivering the infrastructure, skill and conditions needed by business to succeed. The City Region is a great place to visit, live, work and invest but, if the views of local business leaders are heeded, it can become even better.”

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Richard Wright, said: "The difficult thing about assessing the benefits of HS2 is that we have to try and put ourselves into the future. None of us know what increasing fuel prices might bring but it’s pretty certain we will have to move more freight by rail in the future and that needs more capacity. We need to look at HS2 as a fast and economical route to Europe just as much as a fast route to London." 

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Policy and Representation Adviser, Dominic Beck, said: “The Chamber is delighted by the announcement that the second phase of High Speed Rail will stop off in the Sheffield City Region. The location of the station means that the inherent links between Rotherham and Sheffield will be continued, and indeed strengthened, while the station is also close enough to the M1 motorway to benefit Barnsley. 


“Transformative infrastructure projects like HS2 create confidence, jobs and competitiveness, as long as commitments and announcements lead swiftly to action on the ground. This has been long awaited and we now have seen a real commitment from Government to improve connectivity through major infrastructure projects like this.  


“As a Chamber, we will now be working with our partners at the SYPTE, neighbouring Chambers and local authorities to ensure this project is seen through to construction, as part of a long-term vision to unlock economic potential in the northern urban heartlands and ultimately create jobs and wealth.” 


South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) Acting Director of Strategy, Neil Chadwick, added: “HSR will open up new markets, business and job opportunities. Our research shows that it could generate an estimated £2.3 billion of local economic benefits in Yorkshire alone, on top of the predicted £60 billion of national transport benefits.” 


HSR will connect SCR to London, Birmingham, the East Midlands and Leeds. Linking Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region and the East Midlands will connect an area of 6.7 million people and 3 million jobs. Journeys from Sheffield Meadowhall to London will be 1hr 9mins andcapacity on existing rail lines will be freed up to accommodate the growing rail demand. HSR services to SCR are due to commence in 2033. 

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