High Speed Two (HS2) has launched a public consultation on plans for its western leg between Crewe and Manchester and how it can be linked up with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) to deliver integrated services across the country.
A range of measures have been proposed including the expansion of Manchester’s Piccadilly and Airport stations, an extra rail connection from Crewe to the North and the construction of a new HS2 rolling stock depot in Annandale, Scotland, which would create up to 100 jobs in the local area.
The outcome of the consultation will form an important part of the development of the western leg bill before it is introduced in parliament in early 2022.
It has been launched following recommendations from the Oakervee Review to deliver HS2 in smaller sections and consider how best to deliver the project alongside other schemes through the development of an Integrated Rail Plan.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are an integral part of this country’s future rail network, vital for improving connections between our biggest cities and regions, boosting jobs and kickstarting economic growth as we build back better.
“This consultation will ensure passengers and business have their say in delivering a rail network that meets their needs, providing better journeys across the Midlands and the North as quickly as possible.”
The consultation follows work by the Department for Transport, HS2 and Transport for the North to propose infrastructure designs that will best integrate HS2 with NPR, reducing the amount of extra infrastructure required in the future.
This includes proposals to boost capacity in Manchester by doubling the number of platforms at the Airport station from two to four and increasing the number at Piccadilly from four to six.
In addition, an extra northern service from Crewe could see five to seven HS2 trains per hour calling at the station, facilitating connections to NPR and bringing the vision of a Crewe Hub a step closer.
Alongside the new consultation, three additional western leg updates have been published today (October 7) which also support the development of the Bill:
- Response to the June 2019 Design Refinement Consultation
- A route-wide update
- An update to safeguarding
The response to the June 2019 consultation has confirmed four proposed changes to sections of the project in Manchester and Cheshire that will proceed subject to the outcome of the Integrated Rail Plan.
In addition, further route updates for local areas on the western leg and new safeguarding directions have been published.
Work on HS2 Phase One from London to Birmingham is underway at more than 250 active sites, with legislation for Phase 2a, from Birmingham to Crewe, currently being considered by parliament.