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.
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.”
- Read the Government’s report on HS2 Phase 2b in full here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-phase-2b-route-decision