HS2 route confirmed | Details + reactions

The Government has confirmed the route for phase 2b of HS2, which includes details of how the high speed rail line will connect from Crewe to Manchester on its ‘western leg’.

HS2 is set to connect London to Birmingham, before splitting in a y-shape up to Manchester in the west, and to Leeds in the east. Phase 2b is the description for part of this route, dealing with the connection from Crewe up to Manchester, and from the West Midlands to Leeds.

New stations have been confirmed at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport, but an HS2 station at Crewe remains “a possibility”, with consultations underway into the business case, and whether HS2 services should also run to Stoke. No additional funding has yet been allocated to the project.

Beyond Manchester and Leeds, HS2 will connect into the local rail network.

Importantly for Wigan, the high speed line will connect to the West Coast Main Line at Golborne, leading Wigan Council to today praise its position as “the gateway to HS2” when travelling from the North.

Hs2 UK Map Master Aug 2016 V2

The announcement yesterday from transport minister Chris Grayling finalised the version of the HS2 route announced by the Government in November 2016.

The route has seen some changes since the scheme was first consulted on in 2013. In the North West, these changes are:

  • Relocating the Western Leg rolling stock depot, from a site near Golborne to a site north of Crewe, between the A530 Nantwich Road and the West Coast Main Line near Wimboldsley
  • Changing the alignment over a 26km length of route in the Middlewich-Northwich area of Cheshire, raising the route as it passes through the Cheshire salt caverns to avoid brining and gas storage infrastructure
  • Changing the alignment of the route on the approach to Manchester Piccadilly station to improve the operational efficiency of the station and avoid direct residential impacts and a primary school

Details of the two stations in Manchester are as follows:

  • HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly will be constructed alongside the existing main line station. The HS2 platforms will be parallel with, and alongside, platform one. The platforms will be elevated with HS2 concourse facilities located at ground level, beneath the elevated platforms
  • Station at Manchester Airport will have two platforms in addition to two through tracks for non-stopping trains. The station will lie west of and parallel to the M56.

The Government claims that HS2 will result in journeys from Birmingham to Manchester in 40 minutes, a trip that takes more than 80 minutes on services currently.

The link is scheduled to open from London to Birmingham in 2026, the route to Crewe in 2027 and the routes to the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester in 2033. Preparatory work on phase one has begun, with major construction starting in 2018 to 2019.


Cllr David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s deputy leader, said: “Today’s announcement by the government is another significant milestone for the borough.

“Wigan is one of the best, if not the best, strategically placed boroughs in the North West for business and HS2 will help us deliver widespread economic benefits for our residents in the years and decades ahead.

“Having Wigan North Western as the gateway to HS2 will mean Wigan town centre receives an instant boost as a place to attract investment and as a desirable location for businesses to locate to.

“We will be able to transport people quickly to the cities in the south and welcome business quickly to Wigan. We will use HS2 as a catalyst for the regeneration of our town centre including plans for greater connection between our two town centre stations.”

Nigel Foster, strategy director for Transport for the North, said: “Today’s announcement is another step forward in ensuring the North will have the rail connectivity and capacity it needs – not just between the North and the South but across and within the North of England.

“Together, Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 Phase 2b will help mobilise the economy of the North by enabling people to move with much more ease between our great economic centres. The investment will also give confidence to the business community and those who want to live and work in the North by improving labour markets and creating more job opportunities.

“We welcome the recognition by the Rt Hon Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, that Northern Powerhouse Rail would play a vital role in maximising the potential of HS2 and we are continuing to work closely with the Department for Transport, HS2 and Network Rail to ensure these major investments generate the best possible output for the people of the North. This will include identifying before the end of 2017 a set of proposals for how Northern Powerhouse Rail could connect with the HS2 network.”

Adrian Kemp, director at professional services and engineering consultancy WSP in Manchester, commented: “Yesterday’s unveiling of the second phase of the HS2 route is a signal of confidence for the North and reassurance from central Government that the key messages of the Rebalancing Britain report are still high on their agenda. Not only will the region benefit from better connections to London, we will see major economic gains from high-speed links between key northern cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield, and beyond into the East Midlands. The announcement will strengthen the Britain’s future as a knowledge-based economy with enhanced connectivity providing access to human capital, support the creation of thousands of skilled jobs and be the catalyst for inward investment.”

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Well then, at last it’s out. So one of the main points was to reconnect the cities of the country where economic benefits would be of most help. So glad to see that Liverpool is not in need of economic benefits and is just doing fine all by itself. How we must pity those poor cities in a worse off position than Liverpool, perhaps we can organize a collection in the LCR sometime this week.
The total lack of appreciation by the Mayor and local MP’s in not fighting for a direct link while others benefit is a stain on their political and social careers, this lack of effort and complicity in neglecting the impact of not being fully connected to HS2 will damage Liverpool for many years to come.

By Man on Bicycle

HS2 services to Manchester and Warrington northward should stop at Crewe. This will open up a myriad of destinations via Crewe to Manchester and Manchester Airport. The section north Crewe should tie in the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposals more. We have an opportunity to link Liverpool, Preston, Crewe, Huddersfield/Bradford to Manchester and Manchester Airport using some of this infrastructure. Build once and get it right.

By A London Railway?

@London railway, wow wouldn’t that be nice, link in Liverpool to feed Manchester and it’s Airport and deprive it’s own one of potential passengers, so it’s not wrong to connect Liverpool to supply the Manchester market with it’s hard earned cash, but no mention of how Liverpool will benefit economically from this and leaving us theoretically more and more isolated.
It beggars the question of where has the love gone for the whole idea of the NP, oh as long as Manchester is the prime beneficiary at the expense of others. No wonder there are great divides in the NW!

By Man on Bicycle

Disappointed that the High Speed Trains on the West Coast Main Line will actually travel slower than the Pendolinos as they are non-tilting and also I can’t understand why we need a costly line that bypasses Warrington & Crewe but not connect directly to Liverpool.

By Gog

While Liverpool gets overlooked.

By Liverpolian

Liverpool should be connected directly to Euston, on HS2 via Manchester airport.I would have left Crewe as it is.Manchester airport should be the interchange for the North West.This makes more sense than Crewe economically.A stop at Wigan en route to Liverpool,would be perfect for eventual expansion to Glasgow.In Yorkshire the extension from Leeds through York and Newcastle to Edinburgh makes the best economic sense on that side of the Pennines.Crewe appears to have been chosen for historic rather than commercial reasons.

By Elephant

It’s already out of date.

I also can’t afford the Virgin trains as it is, who is going to be able to afford the astranomical prices that will come with this? another £100 on top just to get there an hour earlier.
I don’t know anybody in business or leisure who will be able to afford it!

By .

Liverpool, which will be connected to the HS2 network from day one, has more provision than either Bristol or Cardiff which get nothing.

By Reality check

Crewe as been chosen because there are four routes radiating out of Crewe to the north and three to the south so it can offer connections to a wide variety of other towns to north, south, east and west.

By lihbbig

I agree with Reality check that Bristol and Cardiff should be connected and Bristol to Birmingham as well as London.Edinburgh and Glasgow should also be connected quickly.To include all the centres of population would show the government’s commitment to the whole of the UK.We all know that the continuing dismissal of the English regions by Westminster,resulted in Brexit.

By Elephant

This is madness can nobody behind transport strategy see the ” PENNINE GAP” between manchester and Sheffield/ Leeds that is where the the synergy is needed not on pre existing lines

By don draper

KPMG reckoned HS2 could cost Liverpool up to £50 million per year. Why does Steve Rotherham think this is a good idea?

By Moomo

I wouldnt hold your breath, just yet. The Manchester link is the SECOND phase of the second part of HS2. With an announcement the day before to say that ‘they’ will not now be doing the Manchester – Leeds electrification; there is no joined-up thinking about an integrated transport strategy by HM Gov from Liverpool through to Newcastle and Sheffield, and all points between. So long as £45bn gets spent on Crossrail 2 in London………. they dont care! Liverpool, Newcastle, and Sheffield are all left out………… but which part of HS2 B, wont be built as the money runs out,…… or Crossrail 2 costs go up?

By Billy

Good points Billy,but Manchester is fast becoming an economic engine out on its own,so I suspect with the huge investment at the airport too,it will reach Manchester.

By Elephant

If that is true Elephant, why wont they do the line between Leeds and Manchester? Clearly HM Gov dont think manchester is the economic hub of the North.
HS2 may reach Manchester, it may not; but the critical route is across the North; HS2 to Leeds and a separate HS2 line to Manchester splits the North and damages everyones economy.

By Billy

One of the problems for Leeds is,it is not devolved. They were told that they needed to get their act together,but continued to bicker about where the Yorkshire area would actually cover,so this in effect means that there is no cohesion between the two sides of the Pennines,as there is between GM and Merseyside. Two powerful elected mayors in adjacent conurbations will be more effective in getting money to link those two conurbations.Rotherham and Burnham will speak with one voice for the North West. Compared to Manchester and Liverpool,Leeds is parochial and shortsighted. I fear that it now too late for West Yorkshire,as this new administration cares not a jot about anywhere outside the South East,despite May’s empty words last year, and this is going to stall the progress of the North.A North/North divide is a distinct possibility over the coming years. Apart from a few non-entities,there are no people in this government with Northern seats.

By Elephant

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