Change at top of high-speed rail panel

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis today announced the appointment of Sir Brian Briscoe as the new chairman of HS2, the company established by the Government to advise on the development of high-speed rail services linking London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Briscoe, who will take up his appointment in February, will succeed Sir David Rowlands, who steps down next month as planned. Sir Brian joined the HS2 board in February 2009 as a non-executive director and is a former chief executive of the Local Government Association and chairman of the Independent Transport Commissions for Cambridge and Reading, as well as sitting on the boards of Visit England and the Town & Country Planning Association.

HS2HS2's report was delivered to the Government in December 2009. The report presents a detailed route plan for the first stage of a north-south high-speed line, from London to the West Midlands, as well as options for extending high-speed services, and high speed lines, to destinations further north, including the North West, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.

Adonis said: "This is an exciting time to be involved in the development of high-speed rail in the UK. I am currently studying HS2's report closely and will announce how we plan to take high-speed rail forward by the end of March.

"I firmly believe that high-speed rail can transform transport in this country for the better – it has real potential to regenerate and reinvigorate. I am sure that Sir Brian will build on Sir David Rowlands' excellent work and I wish Sir David all the best for the future."

Briscoe said: "It is a privilege to be able to take forward this exciting challenge of high-speed rail for the UK and to help build on the excellent work of the team in HS2 so ably led over the past year by David Rowlands."

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