Chamber patron businesses leg it to the Black Country
Chamber patron members from across the Midlands region ‘legged’ it to the Black Country recently with a trip back in time on the Dudley Canal Trust
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce hosted a number of chamber patron businesses from across Shropshire, Staffordshire, Hereford & Worcester to their event to hear industry speakers and discuss transport and logistics issues affecting businesses around the region today.
Guest speaker was HS2 head of route engineering, David Cochrane, who gave an insight into developments with the major passenger rail network and its future plans for the infrastructure of Phase 2B, the link between the West Midlands and Leeds.
David said: “HS2 is a project like no other, it will bring substantial opportunities to business in and around the region. So far 440 businesses in the West Midlands alone have been involved in its construction with £26 million pounds worth of contracts already awarded, £14 million of that has gone to West Midlands companies.
"The country has not witnessed rail investment to the north of Watford on this scale for 140 years, 30 cities across the country will be linked via HS2 so it’s a huge project with massive investment."
Corin Crane, chief executive at the Black Country Chamber, said: “The event was an ideal opportunity to bring patrons together from four local chambers – it was great for the patrons to meet, make new contacts and also see first-hand the great work done by Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust, as well as hearing about the plans going forward for HS2."
Visitors toured the underground tunnels and got to appreciate 420 million years of living history whilst legging it themselves through the tunnels and caverns on the narrow boats to appreciate just how much tougher business logistics were back in Victorian times.
Paul Forrest from the West Midlands Economic Forum also presented his findings into the economic viability of investing once again into the region’s canal network system, benefiting local transport links as well as leisure and tourism industry.
HS2 is intended to provide the backbone of future rail network and is already driving jobs and economic growth across the country. The project already supports over 7,000 jobs, forecast to reach around 15,000 by 2020, and is building the talented workforce of the future that this transformative project needs.
A whole generation of engineers, designers, architects and geologists will benefit from the construction of the new high-speed railway as the project gears up to support 30,000 jobs and create opportunities for British businesses to upskill their workforce.