UK Government announced HS2 Phase 2 preferred route

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UK: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the majority of the preferred HS2 route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

The new HS2 trains will carry over 300,000 people a day and will triple seats available out of Euston at peak hours, freeing up space on the existing network for additional commuter and freight services.

“HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century; one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said.

The Transport Secretary has also announced 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)

The announcement means that construction on the first phase of HS2 between the West Midlands and London can get underway next year as planned.

The Transport Secretary has published a command paper High Speed Two: from Crewe to Manchester, the West Midlands to Leeds and beyond, setting out today’s announcement in more detail.

The Western Leg is the route from Crewe to Manchester with new stations at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport and a connection to the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Golborne.

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

The 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. This parkway station will help to bring the benefits of high speed rail to south Manchester and north Cheshire, as well as allowing passengers to change directly between HS2 12 services and the airport.

HS2 will have a transformational effect on journey times, with journeys between Manchester Airport and Birmingham taking just 32 minutes compared to 1 hour and 49 minutes currently, and between the airport and London taking 1 hour and 3 minutes compared to 2 hours and 24 minutes currently.

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.

The Department for Transport has today issued safeguarding directions for the preferred Phase 2b route which protects the preferred route from conflicting development and also means that those people who are most affected by the plans to build Phase 2b can now apply to the government to buy their home.

The government originally set out plans for HS2 Phase Two in 2013. Since then it was decided to develop Phase Two in 2 stages:

  • Phase 2a – from the West Midlands to Crewe that was announced last year
  • Phase 2b – from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands

HS2 will play an important role in improving access to major and regional airports across the UK, including via Old Oak Common for Heathrow, Birmingham Interchange for Birmingham Airport, Manchester Airport station, and via the East Midlands Hub for East Midlands Airport.

Phase 2a will open in 2027, Phase 2b in 2033.