THE GOVERNMENT has today (Tues 15 Nov) confirmed the second phase routes of the HS2 line from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

Alterations include moving the line 370 metres away from West Gorton to avoid residential demolitions

The north western leg of the high speed railway will see trains continue north from Crewe to Manchester Airport, then onto Manchester Piccadilly where a new HS2 station will be built.

There will also be a connection to Liverpool and the existing West Coast main line, allowing HS2 services to continue north to Scotland.

Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese, described the news as “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.”

Work on phase one of the £56bn railway between London and Birmingham is expected to complete by 2026, with the Y-shaped links to the North West and Yorkshire finished by 2033.

According to the government, the total number of main line train seats per hour each way into and out of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will treble to almost 15,000.

.Original HS2 proposal
.The route into Manchester

The original phase two route plan, proposed in 2013, has been delayed for almost two years following debate over station sites, in particular the relocation of the Sheffield stop from the out-of-town Meadowhall shopping centre to the city centre.

Following the review, Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced that seven alterations to the original route will go to consultation, including:

- Moving the approach to Manchester Piccadilly 370 metres eastwards and further away from West Gorton to avoid proximity to a nearby school and the need to demolish 22 residential properties.

- Moving the route 800 metres closer to Northwich in Cheshire to avoid existing brining and gas storage cavities.

HS2: Why It Must Be Built, by Graham Stringer MP

Grayling has called HS2 a "game changer" for the country and "the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory". However, the transport secretary was also keen to recognise opposition to the project.  

"I recognise the difficulties faced by communities along the route," he said. "They will be treated with fairness, compassion and respect and, as with Phase One, we intend to introduce further compensation which goes over and above what is required by law."

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) estimates that reduced travel times and increased business productivity through improved connectivity will bring up to 180,000 new jobs to the region and add £1.3 billion to Greater Manchester’s GVA.

More on HS2 Phase Two here.

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