The government has announced the route for the second phase of HS2, from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.
Confirming the majority of the preferred HS2 route, transport secretary Chris Grayling said that the western leg of the route will continue north from Crewe to Manchester Airport and continue from Manchester Airport on to Manchester city centre, where a new HS2 station will be built next to Manchester Piccadilly
There will also be a connection to Liverpool and to the existing West Coast main line allowing HS2 services to continue north, serving stations to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
On the eastern leg, HS2 will continue from the West Midlands to Toton in the East Midlands, where a new HS2 station will be built to serve Nottingham, Derby and the wider region. From there it will continue north from the East Midlands to South Yorkshire.
In line with HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins’ recommendation, the government has agreed that HS2 should serve Sheffield with a connection to the existing station with the main route moved further east than first planned. A consultation will take place before a final decision is made next year.
From South Yorkshire, HS2 will continue to Leeds where a new HS2 station will be built in Leeds city centre, adjacent to the existing station. HS2 will also have a connection onto the East Coast Main Line, allowing HS2 to serve York, Newcastle and other places in the north-east.
The announcement confirms ministers’ commitment to push ahead with the £56bn project, which they say will provide a significant boost to the economy. Grayling said: “The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day. They represent the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory.”
Commenting on the announcement, Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese, said the news was “welcome confirmation that Greater Manchester will play a key role in HS2 and become a hub for rail improvements that will help support a sound economic future for the whole of the north through Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“This should be seen as reinforcement in the confidence of the region’s economic potential and these infrastructure improvements are the tools we need to unlock that latent energy,” he said.
Greater Manchester interim mayor Tony Lloyd said: “This announcement shows the government has heard the voices from the north that demanded this project go ahead without delay. I hope that today’s announcement will be followed shortly by progress on Northern Powerhouse Rail which will connect the cities of the north. If the government is serious about rebalancing our economy, this infrastructure investment in the north is critical,” said Lloyd.
Looking at the opportunities that this represents for the industry, as well as the UK at large, Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE chief executive of Association for Consultancy & Engineering has commented:
"We welcome the announcement by the government of the full proposed route of HS2 beyond Birmingham and Crewe in today's command paper. This is a strong sign of the commitment Mrs May and her ministers have to this vital project, which will bring economic regeneration opportunities, increased capacity, and better connectivity to our major urban centres and also create large employment opportunity across the corridor.
The combination of Government decision on HS2 and Heathrow extension should help to mitigate some of the uncertainty in the market and improve confidence in the infrastructure investment.
The task of the supply chain now is to ensure they are ready to deliver on this huge project and we will be working with our members and the government to make this a reality. We must also work together to continue advocating for this project, as the HS2 Phase 1 hybrid bill passes through the Lords, and the phase 2 hybrid bill is developed."
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