Rail investment in the North

With the House of Lords report last week suggesting a re-think on HS2, we caught up with SNC Lavalin-Atkins Market Director (Atkins Infrastructure Division), Liam Harrison, to discuss where funding around rail for the North should go. While working on HS2 for the past four years and currently implementing the BIM strategy for the project, the firm is also master planning station development for cities such as Sheffield and Leeds.

Liam stated that connecting cities across the North is so important: 'when looking across the cities, there is so much history and legacy we can work with but we need shared objectives, and making the case for investment is key'.

The suggestion that more focus should be on improving rail in the North rather than improving the connection to London through HS2, is central to the House of Lords report. Why? Minutes saved on journey times from the North to London from HS2, some argue are negligible and more funding needs to go to improving rail around the big northern cities. Better connections to the local airports from cities such as Leeds and Bradford are also being called for.

What of the important improvement works around the stations themselves that drive housing and work space provision, boosting local economies?

Atkins is currently working towards improving connections between Newcastle Central Station and the Stephenson Quarter along with the Forth Yards development areas, to provide housing and promote economic growth. Liam said 'there needs to be an efficient interchange at this station and it needs to work harder to support the local economy. The north has a transport agenda