HS2’s new chairman has pledged to bring some of the creativity involved in organising the London Olympics to the high-speed rail project that will link London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Sir David Higgins revealed he will draw on his experience as chief executive of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Delivery Authority to his new role.
Just a week-and-a-half into his role as HS2 chairman Sir David attended a meeting of council leaders from the UK’s Core Cities taking place at the Library of Birmingham.
HS2 would link Birmingham and London by 2026, with tracks to Leeds and Manchester built in a second phase, to be completed by 2032-33.
The estimated cost of the project currently stands at £43 billion.
Sir David, who has been chief executive of Network Rail since 2011, admitted his first few days in the HS2 role had been “pretty intense”.
Explaining how he planned to draw on his experience of being involved in the London Olympics, he said: “Both are different. The Olympics was fabulous to work on. It was a very creative time, particularly the first few months of delivering such a major development.”
He added: “HS2 is completely different but I am very passionate about it. It is so crucial to the future long-term prosperity of the country.
“I want to look at overall deliverability. I want to be realistic about cost and about time but you have also got to be creative.”