Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today confirmed the majority of the preferred HS2 route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds in a major boost for the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal the country is open for business.

This is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.

A report recently published by HS2 Ltd, Changing Britain: HS2 taking root, demonstrated how Darlington and its Tees Valley neighbours have been quick to recognise the benefits that high speed rail will deliver. In its economic plan and devolution deal, the Combined Authority has identified the High Speed Hub in Darlington as one of four priorities for the Tees Valley and work is already underway with regional partners to develop a masterplan to capitalise on the arrival of HS2 services.

Plans for the ‘Darlington Station Growth Hub’, include new platforms and buildings at the station to allow more long distance and local rail services to stop at the town, providing better connectivity. The proposal will see around £100 million of public and private investment to develop the station as an essential part of the town’s heart. It would also see the creation of new business space and 1,500 potential new homes. The investment will help to better integrate the station with Central Park and the town centre.

Paul Griffith, Phase 2 Development Director at HS2 said:

“HS2 represents a once in a lifetime chance to rebalance the national economy, connecting the Scotland, the North, to the Midlands, and the South East. Our proposals have the potential to transform the economic prospects for the whole country region for generations to come.”

“Today’s announcement brings the benefits of HS2 to Darlington and the Tees Valley one step closer.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“Our railways owe much to the Victorian engineers who pioneered them, but we cannot rest on their legacy when our railways face overcrowding and capacity problems.

“HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the Government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century; one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business.

“The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country and in particular will significantly improve connectivity between the Midlands and the North to boost economic growth.

“But while it will bring significant benefits, I recognise the difficulties faced by communities along the route. They will be treated with fairness, compassion and respect and we intend to introduce further compensation which goes over and above what is required by law.”