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Toton confirmed as HS2’s preferred East Midlands hub

Toton is now the only location being considered for the East Midlands HS2 hub.

Sir David Higgins, chair of HS2 Ltd, announced the decision after a meeting of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board yesterday (Tuesday 14 July).

HS2 Ltd had previously considered an alternative location such as Breaston in Derbyshire next to the M1, but has now settled on the Nottinghamshire hub.

The proposal will be presented to government ministers and the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, will make the final decision.

HS2 Ltd spokeswoman Katherine Button confirmed the decision to RTM and said the government will confirm more details about the second phase of HS2 later this year.

A separate assessment undertaken for the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board showed that Toton had better potential to deliver economic growth and connect to Birmingham and the north of England.

Peter Richardson, chair of the D2N2 Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire local enterprise partnership, who sits on the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board, said: “An HS2 hub station at Toton represents a huge economic opportunity for the D2N2 area. We now need to make sure we have plans and proposals in place that can maximise job creation locally and across the wider surrounding area, as well as implementation that can deliver effectively on the ground.”

Cllr Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire City Council, welcomed Sir David’s decision.

He said: “Nottinghamshire City Council has always been fully committed to Toton as we believe that a hub there would serve both Nottingham and Derby.

“Toton would provide excellent overall connectivity for Nottinghamshire as a whole, including places to the north of the county like Kirkby and Mansfield, and bring enormous economic benefits, as well as improving travel time for passengers.

“Bringing HS2 to Nottinghamshire, combined with the dualling of the A453, will help make our county a place where businesses can flourish.”

13 HS2 Phase 2 route as of Jan 2013   c. OpenStreetMap contributors

Despite the Derbyshire location having been scrapped, several representatives believe the new potential location will serve both areas and boost local growth.

Cllr Anne Western, vice-chair of the East Midlands Strategic Board and leader of the Derbyshire County Council, claimed it was great news for the whole of East Midlands.

She said at the meeting in Nottingham yesterday: “A hub station at Toton, along with the proposed HS2 maintenance depot at Staveley near Chesterfield, will give a huge boost to our local economies.

“But we will need to get the connectivity right to maximise the benefits, in particular links from Derby to the hub station by road, rail and public transport.”

Mike Napier, director of High Speed Rail Industry Leaders, also supported the decision.

He told RTM: "Confirming another station location has been narrowed down is an important step in the progress of the HS2. There is a widespread consensus that a modern, high capacity railway is required as part of the momentum to keep Britain's economy moving forward.

"We have vast experience of delivering similar projects in this country and the rail industry stands ready to deliver the HS2."

Some campaigners disputed the decision over the location, as they believe it would be unsatisfactory for people who want to journey to city centres.

Bruce Williamson, from Railfuture, told RTM: “You race all the way up to Toton and then you have to take a tram at an average speed of 15mph into town. It’s just ridiculous. Derby would have been a better bet as an existing railway hub. Overall, journey times are going to suffer, because HS2 doesn’t deliver people to city centre stations, which is where they want to go.

“On the other hand, we would have to welcome the fact that the project is moving forward, because we need that additional rail capacity.”


Graham Nalty   16/07/2015 at 12:21

Toton is not a sensible choice of HS2 station location, 'falling between two stools'. The requirement of additional trains from Derby, Nottingham and Leicester (Network Rail suggest in their route study this will total 10 trains each way per hour) will clog up the Nottingham to Derby line so much it will be very expensive to provide the capacity. And there would be absolutely no benefit in running the Derby to Nottingham service via Toton as this would make the trains slower than the existing bus service! This has not been thought through properly. Toton would not create jobs in the East Midlands. Studies by Volterra for Sheffield City Council show that over three times the number of new jobs in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster would be created by a city centre station in Sheffield compared to Meadowhall. Bruce Williamson of Railfuture is right to say that Derby would be a better choice, but Nottingham is such a large and important city that links to Nottingham from HS2 both north and south are essential wherever the lines goes. The East Midlands Councils in 2013 called for direct HS2 links from Nottingham to Leeds and Birmingham, but with over 1 million passengers NOW between Nottingham and London there is an essential case for one direct service on HS2 between Nottingham and London. How many more local jobs could be created if HS2 served BOTH Nottingham and Derby. Perhaps someone could ask Volterra to study this before a serious mistake is made that will set the East Midlands economy back compared to the rest of the country.

Keith Ashington   17/07/2015 at 01:39

People do NOT want to catch trains in city centres, for the same reason they prefer out-of-city shopping centres. They are congested, difficult to park. If I'm going on a long distance journey I want to be able to get there quickly and transfer efficiently, either by bus, train, car or tram. We need to stop with the mindset that we all want to go through town centres - this is no longer the case.

Tom Flemming   20/07/2015 at 08:59

I can't say I share Keith Ashington's views above; if you're getting a train to a city, the last thing you need is the 'Ryanair' effect - i.e. you land somewhere far removed from the city you were aiming for, then must endure a long bus journey to get to the city centre. Parkway stations serve the modern purpose of park & ride, but in an age when people are being priced off the road, they're generally too far from anywhere sensible to walk / cycle to.

Richard Edwards   20/07/2015 at 18:09

I'm baffled why anyone would want to put an HS2 station at Toton? Councillor Rhodes mentions the dualing of the A453 as linking up with the Toton Station? Isn't it a bit of a problem, that the two things are separated by a motorway junction? The HS2 station should be at the newish Kegworth Parkway Station, which actually is on the A453, very close to the East Midlands airport, and to the M1/A42-M42 junction. Kegworth Parkway would also give very easy access on the Midland Mainline to Nottingham, Derby, and maybe even Loughborough, Leicester, and Sheffield city centres.

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