High Speed 1 (HS1) is the UK’s first section of high-speed rail and operates along a 68 mile long railway between London and the United Kingdom end of the Channel Tunnel
Operating as both a domestic and international service, the line carries passengers from St Pancras International in London and the Channel Tunnel and connects with the international high-speed routes between London and Paris, and London and Brussels.
HS1 Limited has a 30 year concession to own and operate High Speed 1 as well as the stations along the route: St Pancras International, Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International. The company was acquired by a consortium comprising of funds advised and managed by InfraRed Capital Partners and Equitix Investment Management in July 2017. The cost of construction was £6.2 billion.
On November 14 2017, HS1 celebrated its tenth anniversary, to mark the milestone HS1 Limited published a report entitled ‘10 Businesses at 10 Years’.
The report presents real life examples of how HS1 has helped ten of the most exciting businesses in Kent to grow and prosper. An accompanying survey of leading Kent businesses showed that:
• 91 per cent of those asked said that their business has benefitted from HS1
• 89 per cent said that HS1 has made Kent a more attractive place to set up a business
• Over one third said that HS1 was a factor when choosing to set up their business in Kent
• Over 80 per cent said that HS1 had helped their business grow
• One hundred per cent said that HS1 will play an important role in the future growth of Kent.
Dyan Crowther, CEO of HS1 Limited, said: ‘As the nation’s first and only high speed railway, HS1 has been a catalyst for growth, generating economic, cultural and social value in the regions it serves and the UK more widely.
Passengers using HS1 have doubled since launch, with services carrying over twenty million domestic and international passengers in 2016 alone, with an unrivalled average delay per train of less than five seconds.
A report independently produced by Visit Kent and tourism economists Destination Research revealed that for every HS1 leisure journey made to Kent in 2016, £81 was added to Kent’s local economy.
Almost 6,000 tourism sector jobs in Kent created and supported by HS1 with the total economic contribution to Kent’s visitor economy since domestic HS1 services began estimated at over £311 million.
The findings demonstrate further the remarkable growth of Kent’s visitor economy, the value of which has increased by £1 billion since 2003. Kent’s visitor economy is now worth in excess of £3.6 billion, with the county welcoming more than 60 million visitors in 2015.
HS1 Limited has ambitions for the numbers of passengers visiting St Pancras International and using high-speed rail services to grow. In 2018, HS1 Ltd announced that it would be working closely with other infrastructure managers to help develop new routes, including a direct passenger service to Bordeaux.