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Stobart welcomes HS2 investment
William Stobart, group chief operating officer, shows Transport Minister Norman Baker around Stobart’s multimodal gateway in Widnes
HIGH speed trains could help to regenerate Halton and create new jobs, says the Government.
Transport Minister Norman Baker MP visited logistics giant Stobart in Widnes on Monday to explain how the northern phase of the coalition’s HS2 £33 billion network could benefit the borough.
Speaking exclusively to the World, he said: “This could transform the area. Evidence from Spain and France where high speed rail has been developed shows it does help to regenerate the economy.
“It helps to create jobs within a 50 mile radius of any new station.
“If we can get more passengers onto faster, bigger trains, it will create more space for freight on existing lines.
“This development will help Stobarts. They run a very successful operation but sometimes find it difficult getting tracks.
“We want to make sure that the north west benefits. This is also good for passengers.”
The proposed 211-mile northern route, to open in 2032, will cut journey times from London to Runcorn by half an hour.
Stobart Rail Freight, in partnership with Tesco, runs the largest freight rail operation in the UK, with national and international transport links stretching from Inverness to Valencia.
William Stobart, Stobart group chief operating officer, is confident that trains travelling at speeds of up to 225mph will free up more freight lines.
He said: “It is a great opportunity.
“We own a lot of land here in Halton for distribution centres. This high speed rail link makes it look more attractive to investors and that will create jobs.
“The knock-on effect will make a difference to our local economy.
“It will put Halton on the map.”