Councils agree plan to boost economic impact of HS2 Toton hub station

How the area around the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton could look by 2035.
How the area around the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton could look by 2035.

East Midlands councils and the Department for Transport are working on new measures to boost the economic impact of the HS2 Toton hub.

Government officials and the regional umbrella organisation Midlands Connect have agreed priority goals which could see conventional rail services arrive several years earlier than expected.

Visiting Nottingham, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “I welcome the ambitious growth strategy put forward by the East Midlands leaders to maximise the benefits of HS2.

“We have also invested £25million to help Midlands Connect develop a transformational transport strategy, and will work with them on their proposals.”

He added: “HS2 will be the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration, bringing passengers faster journey times and delivering an estimated 74,000 jobs and nearly £4billion to the East Midlands economy by 2043.”

Regional authorities and key industry leaders have agreed to pursue the partial opening of the station in the 2020s - with high-speed services to follow in 2033.

It is hoped that the initial Network Rail connection would support and stimulate the development of the planned Innovation Campus - a business park focused on science and technology sectors.

In support of that aim, work will also be brought forward on road infrastructure around the station and the relocation of the current cargo depot at Toton.

A new regional delivery body will be established to realise the potential of the Innovation Campus and associated housing developments.

Councils will continue to press the Government over links between the Midland Main Line and HS2, and improvements on the Midland Main Line following the cancelled electrification between Kettering and Sheffield.

Midlands Connect chairman Sir John Peace said: “We have said for a long time that investment in transport and infrastructure in the East Midlands can transform its economy and the quality of life for people who live here.

“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 momentum.”