Adonis joins HS2 board and Allen switches from TfL

Labour transport minister who initiated the high speed rail project now joins it as non executive director. Plus TfL’s finance MD crosses the tracks to HS2.

Lord Adonis - HS2 non executive director

The Labour transport secretary who initiated the high speed rail project has now joined the project as a non executive director. He will be working for HS2 two days a week for the next three years.

"Lord Adonis’s knowledge, passion and commitment to the future of the railways in this country has been one of the key factors in getting HS2 to where we are today,” - David Higgins

Lord Adonis has been an unswerving supporter of the need for the new rail line to boost and rebalance the economy and can now take an active in house role in making sure it is delivered on schedule.

His appointment was made by the current transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin on Thursday.

“Lord Adonis has been a huge supporter of HS2 right from the start, helping to turn the initial concept into a reality,” McLoughlin said. “I am extremely pleased that he will be joining the board of HS2 Ltd. His support and expertise will be invaluable as we move towards construction of the railway.”

HS2 chairman David Higgins was equally aware of the value of having Lord Adonis on his board.  “Lord Adonis’s knowledge, passion and commitment to the future of the railways in this country has been one of the key factors in getting HS2 to where we are today,” Higgins said. “As we move from concept to construction that drive and focus will be of immense help in ensuring we deliver a lasting legacy that will be an integral part of our transport system for the decades to come.”

In a rather happy union of transport secretaries old and new, Adonis praised the role McLoughlin has played in getting HS2 to the start line.

“HS2 is a vital project of national significance. Patrick McLoughlin has been a powerful advocate for the project and the government has risen to the challenge of thinking about the long-term by putting in place a strong team to deliver it,” Adonis said.

“Having pioneered HS2 from the very beginning I am really pleased to join the board responsible for delivering it. We must not duck this challenge of providing Britain with a railway fit for the 21st century.”

Following a career in journalism and local politics, Lord Adonis joined the No 10 policy team in 1998, becoming head of the Policy Unit in 2001. Following this, he served as Minister for Schools from May 2005 until October 2008, Minister of State for Transport from October 2008 until June 2009, and Secretary of State for Transport from June 2009 until May 2010.”

HS2 also made another key appointment on Thursday. Transport for London managing director of finance Steve Allen will join as chief financial officer.

At TfL he is responsible for business planning and financial control across £11bn worth of annual transport spending and £21bn of capital investment.

He is also leading a major operating costs reduction programme and corporate finance activity as well as being responsible for the organisation’s commercial function and maximising revenues from commercial sources such as property and advertising.

"We must not duck this challenge of providing Britain with a railway fit for the 21st century” - Lord Adonis

Allen started his career at the Department for Transport and went on to work for Citigroup and Abbey National before joining TfL in 2003.

"On a project as large and complex as HS2, rigorous financial control is essential. That’s why I am delighted to welcome Steve to the team,” said HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby. “His experience of delivering multi-billion pound investment programmes will be invaluable as we move towards the start of construction in 2017."

Looking ahead to his new role Allen said:

"HS2 is an ambitious, innovative and challenging project that promises to transform the experience of rail travel for huge numbers of people across the UK and provide a major boost to economic growth. I am excited to be joining at such a critical time for the project."

HS2 so far

  1. HS2 ltd is a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport (DfT). It is responsible for design, engineering and construction of the route.
  2. The Government gave the go ahead for a UK High Speed Rail network, called High Speed Two (HS2), on 10 January 2012.
  3. HS2 will be a Y-shaped rail network providing direct, high capacity, high speed rail links between London and Birmingham and on to Manchester and Leeds. 
  4. In 2012, HS2 Ltd submitted proposals to the Secretary of State for Phase Two of the project from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester. The Government announced its initial preferred route for Phase Two on 28 January 2013 and the public consultation on these proposals ran from 17th July 2013 to 31st January 2014. The government will set out how it intends to take forward HS2 Phase Two later this year.
  5. The HS2 hybrid Bill for Phase One of the new railway between London and the West Midlands (effectively the ‘in-principle’ planning application for the scheme) was deposited in Parliament on 25 November 2013.
  6. MPs debated and approved the second reading of the High Speed Rail (hybrid) Bill in the House of Commons on 28 April 2014. MPs voted 452 to 41 to agree the second reading of the Bill.
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