The announcement that the East Midlands Hub Station at Toton, Nottinghamshire, is to be partially opened several years before the arrival of an HS2 high speed line in 2033, has been welcomed by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The Department for Transport has agreed to work with Midlands Connect – the organisation working on improving cross-Midlands transport and connectivity – and East Midlands Councils , which supports local authorities in its area to improve their services, to maximise the economic benefits of HS2.
Following Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling’s visit to Nottingham in November (2017); a commitment to work together to achieve four key outcomes was made following a meeting between the Department for Transport, Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils.
An agreement has been made to work towards:
- Partially opening the East Midlands Hub station at Toton in the 2020s, at least for Network Rail services, to support and stimulate the development of the planned Innovation Campus near the Hub, 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.
In addition to these four priorities, Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils will continue to press for the Department for Transport to ensure that a link between the Midland Main Line and HS2 Phase 2b (the proposed line through Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) is operational for the start of HS2, to ensure classic compatible trains can serve the north of England from the East Midlands.
All parties have also agreed to work together to improve services on the Midland Main Line following the decision not to electrify the line between Kettering and Sheffield.
Midlands Connect, in collaboration with central government, brings together local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships – including D2N2 – from across the Midlands. Together, the Midlands Connect Partnership and the Department for Transport have developed a transport strategy which identifies the major infrastructure projects needed to improve the connectivity of the Midlands’ key locations, to help drive economic growth and power the Midlands Engine. A copy of the Midlands Connect strategy can be viewed and downloaded at www.midlandsconnect.uk/media/1100/midlands-connect-strategy-march-2017.pdf.
Commenting on the progress that’s been made, Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine Chair Sir John Peace (PICTURED ABOVE) 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.”
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, added: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network; supporting growth and regeneration, bringing passengers faster journey times, and delivering an estimated 74,000 jobs and adding nearly £4billion to the East Midlands economy by 2043.
“I welcome the ambitious growth strategy put forward by the East Midlands leaders to maximise the benefits of HS2 through the development of an Innovation Campus, garden settlements and better connections at Toton. We have also invested £25million to help Midlands Connect develop a transformational transport strategy, and will work with them on their proposals.”
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