HS2

05.05.20

Manchester Piccadilly ‘super hub’ proposed

A Manchester Piccadilly ‘super hub’ has been proposed as part of the High Speed North rail project.

The ‘Revisiting High Speed North’ report by rail research company Greengauge21 sets out the need to speed up plans for a northern transport revolution, and proposes incremental rail developments to help kick-start the Northern economy.

To create the super hub, the report suggests a new tunnel from Ordsall into Manchester Piccadilly from the west, which could connect to High Speed 2 (HS2) and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

Fast trains from Chester and North Wales, Liverpool, Blackpool, Barrow and Glasgow could travel through the super hub with services emerging eastwards and across the Pennines to Leeds/Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, York and Newcastle.

The new report, based on a 2014 paper by Professor Peter Hall with Ian Wray and David Thrower, suggest that the super hub would meet the desire of Manchester authorities for an east-west through HS2 station underground at Manchester Piccadilly. It would also transform Piccadilly into the one of the best-connected transport hubs in the country.

According to co-authors Ian Wray, David Thrower and Jim Steer, there is no need to wait for the arrival of HS2 and NPR to make a start.

The report says that although major rails schemes, including the second phase of HS2 and NPR, are vital as a long-term means of levelling up the northern economy, there are serious problems to be addressed in the North’s rail network in the next five to 10 years which can’t wait for these projects.

Alternatively, the report calls for an incremental approach of upgrading the existing network needs to start straight away, designed to link up with these major projects to create High Speed North.

Wray, Thrower and Steer said: “The North deserves better. It will benefit from the arrival of HS2 and NPR, but these are long term schemes that will not be delivered to the North until the 2040s.

“So, it is important that steps are taken in the government’s new Integrated Rail Plan, known as High Speed North, to address immediate concerns in the existing network.

“It is also essential to overcome existing bottlenecks, and to tie together more distant labour market areas and towns with the centres of the major cities like Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. Ultimately, we do need a grand design, but we need a realistic delivery programme too.”

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