Today, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers MP, delivered the keynote address on High Speed Rail at a meeting of civil engineers and leading business figures in the West Midlands.
The event, hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands and held at the Arup Midlands Campus, provided the platform for the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport to reinforce her party’s commitment to High Speed Rail.
In her speech, Ms Villiers referred to the “extraordinary company… Arup” and reiterated Conservative support for “a scheme along the lines put forward by Arup… to construct a new rail hub at Heathrow” and create “a dramatically improved rail connection to Heathrow airport”.
Ms Villiers speech continued to say, “Arup’s record on St Pancras and CTRL was one of the reasons why I and my team sat up and listened when Mark Bostock and Peter Gist came to talk to us about a new rail hub at Heathrow.
“Their proposal is to link the airport’s terminals directly and seamlessly with the main rail network out to Reading and the West of England and South Wales. For the first time, millions of people from places like Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Swansea, Plymouth and Penzance will be able to take a train directly from their home town to Heathrow.
“The proposal also contains an ambitious plan to provide a high speed rail connection to London and the Channel Tunnel. Combine that with the Conservative proposal for a high speed line going north and the result is massively improved transport links between the West Midlands and the rest of the world with a new high speed rail link to Heathrow as well as London.”
Ms Villiers speech, delivered to 150 leading professionals representing the business community, the civil engineering profession, local government and the transport sector, also presented an opportunity to examine the potential economic and social impact of High Speed Rail on the future regeneration of Birmingham and other towns and cities in the heart of the UK.
Mark Bostock, Consultant, Arup, said: “I am delighted that the Conservative party continues to support the Heathrow Hub, a proposal which represents the vital first step in creating a country-wide high speed network. The regenerational benefits delivered by High Speed 1 have exceeded £10 billion and it is our hope that these same benefits will be extended to the West Midlands with further extensions of the high speed rail network.”