1. ITV Report

HS2 meeting positive for Cumbria, say business leaders

Artist's impression of HS2 Photo: PA

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has held "positive and constructive" talks with the Minister for HS2 to call for high-speed trains to stop in Cumbria.

The Government plans to build a 225mph high-speed line as far north as Wigan, from where trains will continue over existing tracks to Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The Chamber has been making the case for Cumbrian stops for the last year and HS2 is now actively considering a stop in Carlisle where trains from London would be divided into separate portions for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Julian Whittle, the Chamber's Business Engagement Manager, met HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani in London today to make the case for Cumbrian stops.

I told her that HS2 was a great opportunity for Cumbria that could, quite literally, pass us by. We're a county with half a million people and 47m annual visitors, two national parks, two World Heritage sites and world-class industry with the like of Sellafield, BAE Systems, Pirelli, GSK and Innovia Films. It defies logic and common sense for HS2 trains to pass through without stopping."

– Julian Whittle, the Chamber's Business Engagement Manager

Under current proposals, HS2 trains between London and Scotland will pass through the county without stopping, forcing passengers from Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme to change at Preston.

The Chamber says the loss of direct trains to the capital will damage businesses.

We know it would harm Cumbria's economy if HS2 trains don't call here. He added: "HS2 is a £56bn project to boost the whole of the North but Cumbria won't benefit if the trains don't stop here. The Chamber will do everything in our power to make sure they do."

– Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce