Bolton's insight into HS2

Posted on Wednesday 7th October 2015

Bolton’s insight into HS2

The University of Bolton welcomed Chief Executive of High Speed Two (HS2), Simon Kirby, last night (6 October 2015) as he presented the opportunities and challenges facing the new high speed railway.

Chief Executive of High Speed Two (HS2), Simon Kirby


HS2 is the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new rail network linking London, the West Midlands and the North of England, improving the transport network and boosting the economy.


Hosted by the University’s Centre for Islamic Finance, Simon considered the various phases and obstacles in delivering the £40 billion project.

The initial phase of the project will link London to Birmingham, and dramatically reducing journey times between Britain’s two biggest cities to a mere 49 minutes.

Phase Two, with the route expected to be announced later this year, links Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds. It is due for completion by 2033.

An estimated 2,000 apprentices and graduates are already employed as part of the phase one team, but the project is the biggest of its kind in Europe and will go on to create 25,000 construction jobs, in addition to the jobs at new stations.

But Simon Kirby stressed that HS2 was more than just the construction of a railway line, it was also about changing the economy and rebalancing the economic success of the country.

Simon Kirby with Professor Mohammed Abel-Haq of the Centre for Islamic Finance


More people than ever before are using the rail network in Britain and HS2 would allow for an additional 20,000 passengers per hour.

HS2 will not just provide passengers with additional services, but also freight trains, aiming to take 500,000 lorries off the roads every year.

The environmental impact of HS2 has been often highlighted, although Simon Kirby was quick to address these concerns, noting that the company has more than 100 leading environmental experts working with them. He said there were incredible opportunities for small businesses and that the project will set new standards in delivering construction projects and revolutionise the British railways.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor George E. Holmes DL, thanked the speaker and said the project would be ‘internet for people’, bringing hundreds of new jobs to the North West.

Download the presentation here