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DfT deal means East Midlands HS2 station could open early

The government has reached an agreement with local organisations in the East Midlands to maximise the benefits of the future Toton HS2 hub, including work to open the station in the 2020s.

The commitment between the DfT, Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils has set out four priorities which the group will try to achieve.

Along with opening the station early, the deal involves early delivery of the road infrastructure surrounding the hub, and preparatory work to develop an ‘Innovation Campus’ in connection with the Toton station.

Together, the plans are part of efforts to maximise the economic benefit of HS2, opening part of the station to allow trains to begin travel in and out of the hub and preparing the surrounding area with the infrastructure and facilities needed to support the increased volume of traffic.

Following the agreement, transport secretary Chris Grayling commented: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration, bringing passengers faster journey times and delivering an estimated 74,000 jobs and adding nearly £4bn to the East Midlands economy by 2043.

“I welcome the ambitious growth strategy put forward by the East Midlands leaders to maximise the benefits of HS2 through the development of an Innovation Campus, garden settlements and better connections at Toton.

“We have also invested £25m to help Midlands Connect develop a transformational transport strategy, and will work with them on their proposals.”

Midlands Connect is a group consisting of the government, local authorities and the region’s local enterprise partnerships which has collaboratively agreed on the important infrastructure projects necessary to drive growth in the region.

The chairman of the organisation, Sir John Peace, said: “We have said for a long time that more investment in transport and infrastructure in the East Midlands can have a transformative impact on its economy and the quality of life of the millions of people who live here.

“I’m therefore pleased that the government is already in dialogue with the Midlands Connect team and East Midlands Councils to accelerate connectivity around the HS2 Hub station at Toton. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the region and I am looking forward to further meetings early in 2018 to keep up the momentum.”

In October last year, the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board released plans for the future use of the HS2 site, including the development of a Growth Zone which is where the Innovation Campus would be located.

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Jake   12/01/2018 at 15:37

The simplest way to 'maximize benefit for the East Midlands' would be to move the station site southwards to Long Eaton's Trent Lane so that existing Nottingham - Derby and Nottingham - Leicester trains can call at the station, the Toton site proposal is ludicrous!

Kevin Hepworth   12/01/2018 at 16:00

This proposal is still a poor fudge, the new station should be on the current London/ Derby/ Sheffield route to minimise disruption. If 200+ skilled jobs are lost in the area @ DB Cargo a huge chunk of the supposed gains in employment will be lost

Stewroth   12/01/2018 at 16:03

The easiest option for connectivity would be East Midlands Parkway, with good routes To Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield and a nice straight section of line to aim at. This would be even better if the East Midlands Main Line electrification were resurrected.

Graham Nalty   12/01/2018 at 18:08

Steworth has got it right. Whilst it would be much better if East Midlands Parkway were to be chosen instead of Toton, HS2 should really offer direct rail services from Nottingham to London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle rather than expect people wishing to visit Nottingham to change trains. HS2 will not offer and journey time savings from Nottingham and Derby to London if passengers have to change trains at Toton. HS2 figures are based on a totally unrealistic interchange times which distorted the choice of HS2 station towards Toton. If HS2 had used industry standard interchange times, Derby would have been chosen as the HS2 station. A station at Toton will tend to discourage investment away from Nottingham and Derby in favour of cities directly connected to the HS2 routes.

Huguenot   12/01/2018 at 18:38

I agree that Toton was not the right choice, but we are stuck with it now. So let's get on with making it work, including extending the tram from the existing Toton Lane terminus and planning rail services to Toton from Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

Andrew Gwilt   12/01/2018 at 19:36

The new East Midlands Hub HS2 station could open in Mid/Late 2021 or Early 2022. Could be wrong.

Graham Nalty   12/01/2018 at 19:53

I am pleased that Hugenot agrees with everyone here that Toton is not the right choice, but I do not think we should allow ourselves to be stuck with it. It would be far better to cancel Toton than trying to make it work. But can it be made to work? There are far more beneficial new routes to be added from Leicester, Derby and Nottingham than to Toton. It seems that at best Toton is a distraction from improving local services where city to city times are extremely slow, and at worst expenditure on connections to Toton could prevent more needed investment elsewhere.

Michael Bell   13/01/2018 at 12:05

Toton, as shown in this drawing, is very badly designed. Will it be a five or a ten minute walk from the connecting transport to the HS2 trains? Far better to splay the HS2 through tracks, put the stopping tracks between them, and the feeder tracks between *them*, so that the order is HS2 Northwards track wall HS2 northwards stopping track Local feeder eastwards Local feeder Westwards HS2 soutwards stoppping track wall HS2 southwards through track The walls would shield the core from the whoosh of passing trains, and in the core there would be cross-platform connection. All the onward connections would be in sight to a passenger coming in on feeder transport. I have put this to HS2, who are cautiously interested

Graham Nalty   13/01/2018 at 12:27

Michael Bells idea is very sensible, but when you examine the exact details of how this will work, it becomes very complicated. The greatest benefits would be if this is done to get as quicker interchange on Nottingham to/from London and Derby to/from London. But for a starter the connecting services across the island platform would face in opposite directions. Connecting stopping services from Chesterfield and Mansfield would face the Derby and Nottingham trains. This will require quite a few extra grade separated junctions which could be better spent on a direct connection South and North from Nottingham to HS2.Also is connecting services are to waiting to depart when the HS2 train arrives, this will require extra rolling stock. And additionally passengers between Nottingham/Derby and Leeds/Newcastle would still have to cross over a bridge. It would be more sensible to admit the obvious that Toton will not work for the East Midlands.

Gabriel Oaks   15/01/2018 at 07:13

Given current management surrounding railway infrastructure projects the station will probably open long before the railway is completed.........

J, Leicester   15/01/2018 at 09:58

A lot of you are missing the many points of Toton entirely which go beyond straight connectivity with the MML: 1) Northwards capacity from Toton is far, far more readily available than on the currently congested section south of the Long Eaton junction. In addition, it saves having to squeeze HS2's trains through the existing bottleneck at East Midlands Parkway. 2) Classic connectivity is far easier to achieve at Toton than further south due to the space available. If somebody can find a way to squeeze an acceptable connection into that area that also allows HS2 trains to join the existing network and vice-versa, hats off to you, because I see no way that it will work without demolishing half of Kegworth. 3) The area currently occupied by the DBS yard is a far clearer candidate for redevelopment and regeneration than the EMP site which is occupied by flood plains on one side and heavily contaminated land at Ratcliffe Power Station on the other, which isn't guaranteed to close by 2026 and may well move to a Drax-style biomass approach to its future operation. Redevelopment is a key facet of the choice of HS2 stations, be they Toton, Curzon Street or Old Oak Common. 4) DBS is obviously going to find somewhere else for its operations as a result of the redevelopment, but that doesn't mean all those jobs will be lost. There are plenty of alternative locations across the network - even locally, there are a number of untouched sites on the Chesterfield to Nottingham line they could use while maintaining the local links. I was sceptical about the Toton site at first, but after taking my Gricer-tinted spectacles off, I came to realise that it is clearly the best option for the region. As much as we can wish East Midlands Parkway would blossom into something approaching a necessary station, I think it's better to just cut one's losses and accept it for the white elephant it is.

Graham Nalty   15/01/2018 at 16:38

I am afraid that J of Leicester has not looked at Toton operations in enough detail. Just because you have spare land, this does not mean it is a good site for a station. When interchange times are taken into account, HS2 will be slower to London from both Derby and Nottingham stations than the Midland Main Line. Classic connectivity would be very easy at East Midlands Parkway compared to Toton which would require several hundreds of millions on grade separated junctions - money better spent on a link from Nottingham Midland directly on to HS2. when you look at things as a business entrepreneur, you find the opportunities for regeneration quite low and the money would be better spend regenerating areas close to Derby and Nottingham stations. The East Midlands Councils have produced a plan for trains serving Toton, but I calculate that each train calling at Toton would have only an average of 8 departing passengers, compared with about 25 passengers per train at Derby and 50 at Nottingham.

Nillywilly   24/01/2018 at 17:58

None of this will happen. HS2 are being cheap with their valuations, below market-valuations to then add back on 10%, so property owners will go US Federal Court, delaying HS2 up to 12 years. Just as there was no engineering criteria dictating away from straight-line elvaston castle (didn't NEED a tunnel) - it's all a scam to defraud homeowners.

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