HS2 map

Manchester wins HS2 hub bid

There was a mixed reaction to the details announced this morning for the preferred routes for High Speed 2 line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

Under the plans launched for consultation Manchester is to get two new stations whereas the proposed HS2 station for Crewe was rejected and there is no direct link to Liverpool.

The new lines totalling 211 miles will include five new stations:

  • Manchester city centre alongside Piccadilly station
  • Manchester Airport, new interchange station alongside M56, between Warburton Green and Davenport Green
  • East Midlands, at Toton between Nottingham and Derby, one mile off M1
  • Sheffield, at Meadowhall, connected to the city centre station by a five-minute rail link
  • Leeds, at New Lane, in South Bank area of the city centre, connected to current main station by a walkway

Construction of the 140-mile southern phase one route between London and Birmingham is due to start in four years and opens to passengers in 13 years from now. The routes announced today, running from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, will open six years after that.

Consultation on the proposed routes published today will be brought forward to start in 2013 rather than in 2014. The Department for Transport will look into whether the project can be fast-tracked so that the second phase of HS2 is completed ahead of the scheduled completion date of 2032.

The government claimed construction of the railway line, its maintenance and new stations will create 100,000 jobs.

Critics argue that the cost of the project, estimated at £30bn, is too high, the new lines will pass through countryside and the shorter journey times to London will be counterproductive for the North, making it easier for business to head south to the capital.

The proposed journey times from Manchester city centre will be 41 minutes to Birmingham and 1 hour 8 minutes to London Euston.

Following the announcement, a joint statement was issued by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester City Council and the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, along with Manchester Airport and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership in support for the new rail links link with London and Birmingham.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: "Today's announcement isn't just about faster trains. High speed rail will create up to 30,000 station-supported jobs in Manchester and help to drive productivity in the region, bridging the economic gap between the North and the South."

Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "We see high-speed rail as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the rail network, which will not only tackle the West Coast line's capacity issues – including the lack of capacity for local commuter and freight services – but will unlock the economic potential of the North West and create much-needed jobs."

The proposed stop at Crewe was not in the preferred route plan but there will be improvements to speed up the West Coast Mainline from Crewe to Liverpool and Scotland.

Christine Gaskell, chairman of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, added: "We support the HS2 project and believe it is a visionary solution. Having a hub station at Crewe would have been our preference however the decision to extend HS2 through its second phase to Manchester is incredibly good news for the North West of England and will generate economic growth."

Liverpool City Region LEP chairman Robert Hough welcomed the prospect of Liverpool-London journey times of 1hr 36mins but added: "The proposed journey times, and the additional high speed connectivity we will achieve, have the potential to transform the way this city region can do business. However, it is also clear that other regions and cities will benefit sooner from earlier connections and others by having direct links. The risk that locations in the Midlands become effectively annexed to Greater London must be understood and avoided if the benefits are to close the North-South divide and regenerate regional economies. Ultimately, if Liverpool is to reap the same benefits the city region must continue to make the case for a direct link served by regular high speed services. We will be seeking further consultation."

Your Comments

Why not HS2 connecting Leed & Liverpool via Manchester? Surely that would be more beneficial.

By Rocket man

UPDATE: adds quote from Robert Hough, chairman of Liverpool LEP

By Ed

Just depends how fast you want to get out of Liverpool or Leeds

By ChesneyT

It’s all about benefiting the South East still further.

By peter

The good news is that from my large mansion in Hale I will be able to catch the train from the new airport station and be in my London office in a little over an hour. Which is nice because I can then downsize my Mayfair pad and take out a few million to reinvest. Everyone’s a winner.


The current HS2 is disastrous fro Liverpool. Manchester beat Liverpool to London by a full half hour. That will mean Manchester is preferred over Liverpool. The cities need parity not favouritism.

HMG stated:

“We looked first at whether it would be possible to ‘gauge clear’ routes to Liverpool to allow running captive high speed trains there. To do so would be very disruptive to the existing railway. Our high level work found it to be prohibitively expensive, owing to the number of bridges and other structures on the railways into Liverpool, so we did not progress it.”

What do you think? How many bridges would it take for them to turn HS2 away from London, or Manchester? It simply wouldn’t be an issue, would it? They are boring a 7.5 mile tunnel into Manchester, while a few bridge widening turns them away from Liverpool.

1. Manchester is having a 7.5 mile tunnel bored to access the city centre directly and a station at their airport.

2. Needless, expensive, “tunnels” are being constructed over flat rural land in the southern Tory shires to placate the Tory NIMBYs, who do not like the noise. Unbelievable! The trains were to be in a cutting with noise reducing trees lining the cutting producing little noise.

Yet when it comes to widening bridges to Liverpool it is too expensive for them. A 7.5 mile tunnel into Liverpool is not even considered. HS2 could come up the Wirral on fields and through a tunnel to Liverpool under the River Mersey, and a tunnel not 7.5 miles long either.

Liverpool need to have the Hillsborough attitude of “we will not give up” and hinder and harry HMG until parity and justice comes about.

By John

The real killer for Liverpool is that, unlike Manchester, its trains are being made to make several stops en-route to allow connections from other destinations. Without them a Liverpool train could get to London in 1hr 27mins – not brilliant, but at least “competitive” with other northern cities. But, actually, its worse than that. Has anyone else spotted that half of Liverpool’s HSTs will be kept on the WCML as far as Lichfield in order to provide a connection at Stafford, and that they’ll then have to stop at Birmingham Interchange to be linked with another HST for the final trip to London? Forget 1hr 36mins; these trains are expected to take 1hr 55 mins – no different from now. But what about the Legacy Pendolinos, I hear you ask? Surely these will still get to London in 2 hrs? Well, no they won’t – because in order to create capacity on the southern WCML they’ll now be merged with services from the West Midlands, and will have to travel via Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry and Rugby. And the expected journey time? 3hrs 15mins – i.e. utterly useless to most travellers.


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