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HS2 Sheffield Meadowhall station ‘still on the table’

Transport minister Andrew Jones has confirmed that the proposed high-speed South Yorkshire station at Sheffield Meadowhall is “still on the table”, despite recommendations made by the chair of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins.

The confirmation came during a Parliamentary debate raised by former Labour leader Ed Miliband on HS2’s Yorkshire route, as he questioned the benefits of the high-speed rail service’s currently planned spur to Sheffield Midland, arguing that the city has been “sold a pup” by HS2 Ltd.

Miliband said that current plans would actually mean slower and more infrequent journeys to London from Sheffield city centre than the Meadowhall option. He also disputed claims that the new route would save £1bn and slammed plans to demolish a new housing estate in Mexborough, one of the eight potential sites earmarked for a new ‘parkway’ station.

“We are comparing three or four years of work on the Meadowhall route with, frankly, back-of-a-fag packet calculations in relation to the M18 route,” Miliband stressed.

“Our argument is not simply about the local effect – it is a wider argument about the benefits to South Yorkshire. However, I do think that that is relevant, and proper work has not been done on the constraints of this route.”

In response, Jones argued for the “additional” benefits of the proposed M18 route, saying that it will affect fewer properties, generate less noise pollution and offer the attraction of a city centre location similar to stations proposed in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. 

But the minister offered reassurances that his department is currently holding consultations along the line of route in the current proposals, noting that the government did listen to Leeds’s request for a single hub station, and expressed hopes that a consensus can be reached around the proposal in South Yorkshire.

“HS2 is going ahead. The programme is moving at pace. The question is how to minimise the disruption during the build and, most importantly, maximise the benefits when HS2 arrives. I want people to be thinking about that, including in South Yorkshire,” Jones added.

“I have met colleagues from South Yorkshire, and I will meet them again – I think that dates are already in the diary; I am happy to receive all representations.”

When asked by Miliband whether the Sheffield Meadowhall option is still being considered by HS2, Jones answered with a clear “yes”.

“We have not ruled options out, although the government have said that they are minded – but only minded – to go ahead with the proposal from Sir David Higgins [to proceed with the Midland spur],” Jones revealed.

“We have sought to listen to communities and to take on board their comments and concerns at every stage, and that will continue, but HS2 is not just about improving transport; it is about exactly what [you] said—building a better Britain and creating a legacy of prosperity for future generations.”

HS2 Ltd is set to complete its study looking into the possibility of a parkway station in South Yorkshire in the spring. Jones confirmed that the study, alongside consultations on refinement of the route and properties that will be affected by the route, will be used to inform a decision on HS2 in South Yorkshire later this year.

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Huguenot   07/02/2017 at 12:20

Whether or not the spur from Sheffield Midland is built, Meadowhall still offers the best connectivity to the remainder of South Yorkshire. Some of the other Parkway sites aren't even on an existing line or have only very limited connectivity.

Graham Nalty   07/02/2017 at 13:14

Meadowhall is not the ideal site for a HS2 station because it would attract far less passengers to HS2, reduce the opportunities for new job creation compared to a city centre station and would suffer from excessive additional costs in dealing with the effects of the poor geological location. But it is probably better than what is currently proposed. Surely it would be far better to leave the train services from London to York and Newcastle to the East Coast main line as future upgrades will reduce the comparatively small savings now claimed by HS2. This would enable both Leeds and Sheffield to be served by the same HS2 trains. The Northern Powerhouse will not deliver economic growth with stations away from city centres and suggesting a parkway station at a location that no one wants to visit simply for the sake of having a station is adding insult to injury.

Chris M   08/02/2017 at 02:45

No Graham, without building very long stretches of high-speed bypasses (so no different to HS2 new build) the ECML cannot ever hope to come close to HS2 timings. Trains to Leeds will always be 40 minutes slower, trains to York 30 minutes slower. And that is with lengthy stretches of the line being 125mph rated already. ECML bottlenecks/slowings include: Tunnels & curves from Harringey to Woolmer Green (20 miles) imposing 85-115mph speed restrictions. Welwyn North viaduct & tunnels which are only two track, causing huge capacity problems. The fenland section towards Peterborough, imposing 100-105mph speed limits over a stretch of nearly ten miles. Aerodynamic issues at Stoke tunnel (100mph I think). Grantham area curves (105 mph) Newark flat crossing (100mph) Retford curves (115mph) Doncaster area (100mph curves). Then there is the line from Doncaster via Wakefield to Leeds - 100mph maximum speeds with several slower sections.

Noam   08/02/2017 at 08:48

Whereas I can of course see the benefit of HS2 serving Sheff city centre, running HS trains into Midland Station along the classic lines will negate one of the benefits of HS2, namely freeing up capacity on the classic lines. I would have thought it would be better to keep Meadowhall for through services to Leeds, York and points north, and run Sheffield terminators to Victoria Station which remains largely undeveloped. Victoria could also then play host to HS3 services towards Manchester.

Geordie   08/02/2017 at 14:40

Don't know what you are all worried about, HS2 will never get beyond Crewe. No point and they will run out of money by then

Sam   08/02/2017 at 22:15

The Midland route is a nonsense. It uses smaller trains at slower speeds on old tracks. How can that be a high speed train? It's no different than we've already got. In fact it's worse. The existing services DO connect Sheffield to Leeds! This route also mpacts on existing services. This is no use to anyone.

Burt   08/02/2017 at 22:44

The best solution for Sheffield and South Yorkshire would be for the main hs2 line to be tunnelled into the midland station to maximise speed and connectivity. The current option on the table is far worse than the Meadowhall option. Slower times into Sheffield station Less capacity - 1 5th of Meadowhall option No service to Birmingham No funds committed to the onward journey to leeds No extra capacity at midland station No funding to redevelop midland station No funding to electrify the midland mainline from the hs2 line to Sheffield city centre. As a Sheffielder, I'm embarrassed our muppet Sheffield city council are supporting this option over Meadowhall - which to be fair would serve as an excellent regional hub aswell as being better for Sheffield. I apologise to all our South Yorkshire friends / we are not all as selfish and idiotic as Sheffield city council

Jonathan Pile   09/02/2017 at 09:50

As HS2 Limited Engineer Alistair Hassan confirmed to me on November 17th 2016, there was no study into adapting the Meadowhall route to link to Sheffield Midland Station via the Sheffield Midland line and spur to Chesterfield. He confirmed that the Sheffield Hybrid was a potentially viable option which had not occurred to HS2 when looking at alternative route options in April 2016.

Graham Nalty   09/02/2017 at 21:11

Chris M. The East Coast would be used for trains from London to York and beyond whilst HS2 would run via Sheffield Midland to Leeds. And yes some unleashing of the bottlenecks on the ECML could be achieved from the money saved. Burt has the most sensible idea. Noam is right to suggest that running hs2 trains in Sheffield Midland negates the HS2 objective of relieving congestion on main lines. In all other European countries high speed trains serve city centre stations.

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