Another major milestone for the HS2 project has been reached with the Government announcing its decision over the route from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds – referred to as Phase 2b of the project. The Transport Secretary has published a command paper High Speed Two: from Crewe to Manchester, the West Midlands to Leeds and beyond, setting out the announcement in more detail.

On the western leg, HS2 will:

  • continue north from Crewe to Manchester Airport
  • 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
  • continue north from the East Midlands to South Yorkshire
  • in line with Sir David Higgins’ recommendation, we propose HS2 should serve Sheffield with a connection to the existing station with the main route be moved further east and we will be consulting before a final decision is made next year
  • from South Yorkshire, HS2 will continue to Leeds where a new HS2station 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

There are 7 refinements on which Department for Transport is consulting, which are:

On the western leg:

  • to move the previously proposed rolling stock depot at Golborne to a site north of Crewe
  • to move the approach to Manchester Piccadilly up to 370 metres eastwards with the northern tunnel portal in Ardwick, to avoid direct impacts on residential properties and a school at West Gorton
  • to move the route in the Middlewich – Northwich area in Cheshire up to 800 metres westwards

On the eastern leg:

  • to move the route to the east of Measham in Leicestershire, avoiding the most significant impacts on local manufacturing businesses and development sites
  • to go around instead of tunnel under East Midlands Airport
  • to amend the alignment of the preferred route as it passes through Long Eaton to reduce severance in the local community and reduce impacts on the highway network and existing rail infrastructure
  • to move the alignment of the route from Derbyshire to West Yorkshire to reflect a change in the proposals for serving the Sheffield city region, as recommended by Sir David Higgins in his report Sheffield and South Yorkshire published in July 2016

Construction on the first phase of HS2 between the West Midlands and London can now also get underway next year following the announcement that HS2 Ltd has awarded a £900 million contract to:

  • Area South – CS JV (Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK Ltd)
  • Area Central – Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall Plc, BAM Nuttall Ltd, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Ltd)
  • Area North – LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction Ltd, J Murphy & Sons Ltd)

Further information is available here:

Command Paper:

Route refinement consultation:

Written Ministerial Statement:

Updated Strategic Case: