Barlow House

HS2 chooses Manchester base

HS2 Ltd, the company established to deliver high-speed railway connections between key cities, has signed terms on office space at Barlow House, Minshull Street.

The organisation said that as work steps up to extend HS2 to both Leeds and Manchester, the move reinforces HS2’s commitment to work with partners, including Transport for the North, in order to enable Northern Powerhouse Rail services.

Place understands that the organisation will be accommodated within space occupied in the building by the Secretary of State. HS2 Ltd relocated its headquarters from London to the Midlands three years ago, and will use the base close to Piccadilly station for its core team in the North.

Mark Thurston, chief executive, said: “HS2 is crucial to delivering Transport for the North’s ambitions for Northern Powerhouse Rail. By having a new base in Manchester we are able to work closer with our Northern partners. Together, HS2 and NPR will enable faster, more frequent and reliable services throughout the North.

“The spare capacity released on the northern sections of the HS2 network will enable future NPR services, so the two projects work seamlessly to maximise the benefits of the UK’s investment in future rail. With towns and cities set to benefit across the North, HS2 will transform rail journeys and give passengers thousands of extra seats every day.”

The development has been welcomed by transport figureheads in the region. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham described the move as “a real statement of intent” adding “I look forward to working with HS2 to ensure the North gets the maximum benefit from the better connections and released capacity that HS2 and NPR will deliver”.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Partnership welcomes the move by HS2 to have a permanent office base in Manchester, with the work on the phases to Crewe, to Manchester and to Leeds advancing.

“HS2, delivered together with Northern Powerhouse Rail, will be transformational and has the potential to support hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Among the “key corridors” included in NPR that could use HS2 infrastructure is the Manchester-Liverpool via Warrington route, where NPR services could use HS2 infrastructure, including  the 13km Manchester tunnel, to serve HS2 stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly, potentially bringing the journey time between the North West’s tow largest cities down to 30 minutes.

The only space left available at Barlow House, owned by Orbit, are the ground and first floors, which are being marketed by Edwards & Co and James Andrew International. Floorplates are around 5,500 sq ft.

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Promising news considering what was in the news this morning. I really hope it happens

By Steve

HS3 would be more benifitial for the North Liverpool to Leeds…wake up!!

By Anonymous

An expensive PR stunt. It will never happen

By Brooklands resi

Is the next stage about to be announced? Can’t they start building it in Leeds and Manchester now and meet stage one in Birmingham? Or is that too easy for the Westminster muppet show?

By Elephant

My understanding is that the northern section will start from Manchester/Wigan and go south rather than the other way around. But the London/Birmingham section will still be progressed first.

By Raj

Have u noticed that most Victorian train lines to/from Manchester run tens of miles in a straight line and have space for four tracks (with under- and overbridges and stations) although only double tracks are now being used. Ponder this before ‘allowing’ our ‘servant’ politicians to spend billions of ‘our’ tax money on new lines so that (or so the argument goes) expenses-paid workers can set off fifteen minutes later and still arrive on time. When folk do ‘daft’ things, self-interest is behind it; mark my words. Don’t be fooled again! (Comments on my comment will be ignored. So there!)

By James Hayes

Are they going to cancel the line to Leeds?

By Elephant

The HS2 Liverpool Bypass: built for Manchester, with the price heavily paid in full by Liverpool’s people.

By Jono

HS2 hahaha what a mess…

By EggMan

That 30 minutes is hardly any improvement on the best time today, on ordinary track. The reason is that MCR- Liverpool via MCR Airport is a roundabout route. Some people will worry it will become a bottleneck like the Castlefield Corridor on the Oxford Road line. It’s not too late to change minds.

By Jeff Davies

Just to clarify – Phase One is from London to Birmingham/West Midlands. Phase 2 is split into two parts, creating a Y shape. The first part is Phase 2a, from the West Midlands to Crewe, which will link into the Phase One network (construction between 2020 and 2027). The second part of Phase 2b, which will link up to Manchester (from Crewe – Phase 2a) and to Leeds (from West Midlands – Phase 2a). There is no way now, that construction north to south can start, as Phase 2b doesn’t have the Royal Assent that it needs.

By Vicky

Phase 2 of HS2 must be built at the same time as Phase 1 HS3! There is no justification for anything else. The links across the North will be more important to the national economy than the links to London. And this ‘Crossrail for the North’ must be a high-speed link.

By Roscoe

Loving all the keyboard experts on here chaps. Keep it up, it’s entertaining. I hope you’ve all sent your no-doubt detailed appraisals to HS2 Ltd, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled that you’ve done their work for them in a matter of minutes

By Anonymous

@James Hayes – Nice surname, that’s my real one as well.

You make a fair point – but note that while there is capacity in these specific sections, the wider network simply can’t accommodate it. It only takes 1 pinch point to make many hundreds of miles of spare track capacity redundant.

You cannot view closed network systems, which rail networks inherently area, in this way. If you can’t physically get rolling stock up the line, what use is it.

By Daveboi

Roscoe is right. Not much point of a fast train to Leeds and Manchester from Birmingham when Leeds and Manchester are still connected by a donkey. HS3 should start now and by the time HS2 arrives Leeds and Liverpool will already be connected.

By Elephant

Here are a couple of facts:
1) There is no such thing as ‘HS3’ or ‘Crossrail for the North’. It’s called Northern Powerhouse Rail.
2) The HS2 Hybrid Bill is the legislative vehicle for critical elements of Northern Powerhouse Rail. In short, without HS2 Phase 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail would not be viable in its current state.

Influential MPs and business leaders that care about northern prosperity are aware of this, and this is why they back HS2. MPs that say differently, quite frankly, do have a clue what they are talking about.

Chris Greying (despite what you think of him) gets it. As he said in the Birmingham Post this morning: “This is not an either/or situation”.

From a personal and entirely subjective perspective, I see Northern Powerhouse Rail as being far more beneficial than HS2, but I understand that without HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail would not be feasible without significant delay, and so this is why I support it.

By Superhans

Superhans – easily the best, most informed post in this comments section. Other commenters ought to take note

By Anonymous

@superhans, don’t come here with your well researched and thought through statements. The PNW comments section is for half truths, nimbys, armchair politicians and entrenched opinions. Go take your facts elsewhere, they’re not welcome here.

By Egg

Scrap this stupid scheme and invest the cash in the present infrastructure which is falling to pieces in certain places.

By John Brown