HS2 chief's charm offensive to keep train operators on board

Richard Brown's quarterly meetings with executives will be vital to Government attempts to convince a doubting public that the high-speed rail-link will be of huge economic benefit to the country

The former chairman of Eurostar will try to woo train operators to back the heavily criticised High Speed Two railway project.

HS2 non-executive director Richard Brown, who was chief executive and then chairman of Eurostar from 2002 until this summer, is organising quarterly meetings with train-operator executives. Their support is vital as the Government tries to convince a doubting public that HS2 will be of huge economic benefit to the country, particularly when it ultimately links northern cities including Leeds and Manchester.

Campaigners have seized on what they consider to be a weak business case for HS2 and the projections for its environmental impact as the track carves through the British countryside. HS2 is in the middle of a fight-back after a dreadful summer in which the budget spiralled by £10bn to £42.7bn and a series of high-profile politicians, including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, questioned the line's necessity.

HS2's latest board minutes, of a meeting from 18 September, show that Mr Brown had been asked to secure talks with train industry leaders. "The board wants to make sure that train companies don't come out and say that HS2 is a load of rubbish," explained an industry source.

Outgoing chairman Douglas Oakervee has regularly held similar meetings with construction industry bosses, as he attempted to convince them of the lucrative contract opportunities that would arise from one of Britain's biggest engineering proposals since the Victorian era. Mr Oakervee is to be replaced by Sir David Higgins, who masterminded the construction of Olympic Park and is currently head of Network Rail.

HS2 needs all the backing it can get as officials prepare to put their plans before Parliament. A bill to approve HS2's construction will be handed to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin later this month, as the coalition tries to secure royal assent before the 2015 general election.

Sources claimed that Mr McLoughlin has received assurances from Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne that they remained committed to HS2.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'