Artists impression HS Train HS Ltd c

Plans to bing HS2 trains to the airport are going through parliament. Credit: HS2

Enhanced M56 junction put forward by HS2

Ahead of the proposed HS2 / Northern Powerhouse Rail station at Manchester Airport, a project developed with National Highways to improve Junction 6 has been revealed.

The proposals suggest relocating Junction 6 of the motorway to the south-west, with works sequenced within HS2’s construction programme.

It is intended that the revised plans would improve access to the new combined HS2 and NPR station for business and leisure travellers and could also help reduce congestion on what is a key piece of infrastructure, linking Wilmslow and Hale Barns to the motorway network.

The proposed change reflects the ongoing design and engagement work that HS2 Ltd undertakes during the hybrid Bill process.

The High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill was submitted to parliament in January 2022 and seeks the legislative powers to build and operate the northern extension of Britain’s new zero carbon railway, which is forecast to open between 2035 and 2040.

Initial concepts would see the M56 realigned to the south and Junction 6 converted to a roundabout junction, with the HS2 railway line running in a shallow tunnel underneath. Link roads would connect the new junction to the existing local road network.

The proposals would also see the existing roundabouts at Junction 6 converted to signal-controlled junctions, and a direct link provided to the combined HS2/NPR station with a flyover crossing Hale Road and running parallel to the M56.

To improve the local road network, the Runger Lane/Avro Way junction would also be upgraded to a signal-controlled operation.

Liz Garlinge, strategic customer projects director at National Highways, said: “National Highways welcomes these improved plans for M56 Junction 6. As well as providing access to the proposed HS2 NPR station, this integrated approach to planning will contribute to the future needs of the region and better journeys for all our customers.”

The public engagement process has already begun locally as HS2 looks to formally submit the project to government later this year. Interested parties can register online for a 2 March webinar and/or a 7 March face-to-face event at Delta by Marriott Manchester Airport Hotel.

Tim Smart, managing director of HS2’s phase two programme said: “The new combined HS2 and NPR station at Manchester Airport will deliver a major boost to the North West’s economy, and we believe there’s further potential for growth if additional capacity is created on the surrounding road networks.

“HS2’s arrival is already spearheading development plans for more new homes and premium commercial space in the area. This enhanced connectivity could bolster those plans, help to future proof the road network, and benefit local communities by reducing congestion.”

Your Comments

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Just drop HS2 already, this is tedious

By Cal

A copy of the Plan would be more useful than a tedious description. Or a link to it.

By Edge

As long as they get on with it and deliver it while I am still breathing I don’t care.

By Dan Smate

Drop HS2? Sure, that’ll happen right after they stop building offices or apartments because that would be nonsense too.,

By Anonymous

Just get HS2 built already, stop faffing around, it’s so desperately needed!


You have to ask why it has taken HS2 until the Hybrid Bill process to listen to Greater Manchester partners – it was, and is, blindingly obvious that every proposed Airport Station which HS2 has brought forward would need a significant remodelling of Junction 6. Little wonder the HS2 budget is under pressure – too many engineers ignoring local input!

By Anonymous

We need HS2

By Anonymous

Why oh why is our foresight so limited??? If we have to have the utterly superfluous in these times of AI, Zoom etc, then why not link HS2 to the old disused Broadheath to Altrincham line that in truth runs westwards to Halewood and Speke airport – Ringway and Speke around a quarter of an hour apart. You cant walk from T1 to T3 in that time – oh well – pipe dreaming so far ahead of the hidebound consultants again!!!!

By Not a Philistine

So, just when 3 years of roadworks are being completed on this section, now lets realign the motorway – you couldnt make it up!

By Anonymous

Is it still “HS” 2 now they’re looking at reducing speeds to save money? If it does make it to Manchester I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts and ends at the Airport to avoid the huge costs of navigating into the city centre.

By Greggy

One more lane will fix it

By W

Why do offices have to be in the middle of Manchester?, they don`t, why not build the offices near the airport and then anyone commuting for business from afar will be satisfied, this will avoid the cost of expensive tunnelling and platforms, and save on so much upheaval.
Many other people who journey to large trains stations will travel from inner and outer suburbs so commuting to an airport main hub will make little difference , in addition more parking can be available, it works for the French in Lyon and Avignon for example.

By Anonymous

Why would Northern Powerhouse rail go to Manchester Airport when it is a link from Liverpool to Yorkshire and the North East. My understanding is that regional airports such as Manchester are to be closed under net zero plans

By Anon

We don’t need HS2, it purely to benefit residents in the SE, by increasing the realistic commuter travel distance and being able to purchase cheaper housing further afield from London

By Pete F

I appreciate the difficulties of completing a major rail project like this but other countries have managed it.
I believe that if this project had started at Manchester and ‘driven’ South at the same time it was commenced in London huge savings in budget and time would have been made.
Totally agree with Dan Smate and others on here.

By Peter Chapman

Hi, where has this been ‘revealed’? Was there a recent release or something? Or is this the changes already detailed in the HS2 documents.
I saw plans in the HS2 docs a couple of weeks ago (HS2 doc M29), have these been changed or is this what you’re referring too?

By Anonymous

Why can’t they start building the Manchester to Birmingham bit now, so they meet in the middle? Or is that too easy?

By Elephant

Why close the existing junction causing huge disruption, waste and losing capacity rather than just add an extra one?

By Observer

And not one word about the Welsh government canning most road developments, mostly affecting North Wales including the portion that is part of the wider Liverpool City Region.

Just change your name PNW. You seem keen to be more interested in Leeds that the Liverpool metro area these days.

By Jeff

    Hi Jeff! You’re commenting on a story about HS2 and the M56 junction 6, which is why you’re not seeing information on the Welsh road network changes. We covered the Welsh government freezing new road projects in 2021 and are actually working on the recent news right now. Here’s the 2021 story in the meantime: Best – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

      Jeff,there is a story on the North Wales projects published now. Sorry it was not as speedy as you would have liked, we’re always juggling quite a few stories, events, and assignments. However, we always make a point to cover the stories that are important to our region. Best – J

      By Julia Hatmaker

People stating we ‘need’ hs2 can you explain why we need it and at what cost. Billions to shave an hour off the journey and they’re already talking about it not being run at full speed. I get we need a network that is maintained but let’s be honest this is not public transport it will be aimed at the elite who can afford excessive prices to get there an hour quicker. Investment in northern powerhouse rail would be much more beneficial to the people of the North

By Anonymous

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